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NCAA Up in Arms about NFL Friday Night Plan

Feb. 12, 1964 - Colleges and high schools plan to challenge the television deal that calls for five NFL games to be presented on Friday nights in the fall. Asa Bushnell, secretary of the television committee of the NCAA, said today that amateur teams were concerned whether the T.V. deal contravened the spirit of the Federal law protecting college and high school games from professional competition.

The displeasure of colleges and high school became known as the Ford Motor Company formally decided to sponsor the night games on ABC-TV. The games are to be televised between Sept. 25 and Oct. 23. A number of colleges, particularly in the South, and many high schools in all sections of the country play football games on Friday nights. Mr. Bushnell noted that under the Federal statutes exempting sports from antitrust laws, it was stipulated that the NFL could not sell a package calling for Friday night games.

The novelty of the ABC contract is that the Friday night telecasts arranged not with the league but with individual clubs. At the time the ABC game deal became known, attorneys for the network, the Ford company, and the individual clubs felt they were on solid ground in executing the arrangement. The five ABC network games were withheld from the major NFL package of 98 games bought by CBS for an annual fee of more than $14 million.

If the growing controversy over the deal between ABC and the individual clubs were taken to the courts for adjudication under the Federal law governing T.V. scheduling of sports, some industry officials noted, the ramifications could be extensive.


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