John Clay's notes: UK games on SEC Network put ball in Time Warner's court

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJune 25, 2014 

Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson were among several UK players who contemplated entering the 2014 NBA Draft before announcing their return to the school.


The announcement Wednesday of the television broadcast schedule for Kentucky basketball's games in the Bahamas in August ups the ante with regard to the SEC Network.

The first three UK games will be televised by ESPNU. The last three will be televised by the SEC Network, which starts Aug. 14 and at present has not signed an agreement with Time Warner Cable.

That means Time Warner customers won't be able to see those three games. And that means the majority of cable customers in Lexington.

At present, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse are the only major broadcast providers that have a deal with ESPN to carry the SEC Network.

So is ESPN placing an extremely popular entity such as UK basketball on the SEC Network to put pressure on Time Warner to come to an agreement?

Of course.

■ Now that Americans are paying attention to soccer in record numbers, they of course want to change soccer. No more stoppage time. No more ties. Sorry, if you are new to the game, you don't get to change the game.

■ Although the U.S. has played well in the World Cup to this point, the guess here is the Americans will have a tough time Thursday with Germany. Best chance of advancement to the knockout round is Portugal beating Ghana.

■ The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly split about what to do with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft. Owner Dan Gilbert wants Andrew Wiggins. The front office wants Jabari Parker.

I'd go with Wiggins, the former Kansas forward. Wiggins may not be as NBA-ready as Parker right now, but he is more athletic, has more potential and his game should flourish under the pro rules.

■ Were Joel Embiid not recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, I would have taken the former Kansas center with the first pick. The 7-footer is raw but could really be special.

■ It would not surprise me if we later find that ESPN paid LeBron James to opt out of his Miami Heat contract so the network could talk about him non-stop.

■ Georgia and Notre Dame will play each other in football in 2017 and 2019, which is further proof that (a) the College Football Playoff system is forcing national championship contenders to improve their strength of schedule and (b) athletic directors are worried about attendance figures for non-marquee games.

■ Reports out of Minnesota say new Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is impressed with new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's ability to throw the deep ball. Wasn't it Bridgewater's bad deep throws that kept the former Louisville Cardinal from being drafted higher?

■ Congrats to Frank Minnifield, the former Henry Clay Blue Devil, Louisville Cardinal and Cleveland Brown, who last weekend in Louisville received the Blanton Collier Award for Integrity from the Blanton Collier Sportsmanship Group.

Since retiring from the NFL, Minnifield has undertaken a number of humanitarian causes, and joins past Blanton Collier Award for Integrity winners such as Rich Brooks, Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Tony Dungy, the Manning family and the Harbaugh family.

■ Heading into Wednesday's games, Devin Mesoraco's OPS was 1.054. So why is the Reds' catcher trailing St. Louis' Yadier Molina (.748) and Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy (.917) in the National League All-Star voting?

■ Those who are ripping Reds GM Walt Jocketty for trading Edwin Encarnacion in the Scott Rolen deal back in 2009 should remember four years ago the Jays put Encarnacion on waivers. Oakland claimed him but failed to tender him a contract offer. Encarnacion eventually re-signed with the Jays.

■ SMU announced this week that it will start allowing beer sales at home football games. If the NCAA loses the O'Bannon anti-trust trial, currently winding up in Oakland, and schools will have to let "student-athletes" in on the money grab, plenty of other schools will start allowing beer sales at sporting events.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog:

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