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and interests of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As a member of the NCAA's Television Committee, and chairman of our cable television subcommittee, I am supposed to keep abreast of our concerns with the cable industry.
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Chairman, my name is Ritchie Thomas. I am associated with the law firm of Cox, Langford & Brown, Washington counsel for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
I may say that we understood that we had 15 minutes, so we may go a couple minutes over.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Gentlemen, we do have another vote scheduled for 4:30. We have an hour, but sometimes we ask some questions. And so, if you are through within that hour, I will be satisfied.
I try, in allocating the time, to be as fair as I could, but I realize sometimes presenting a statement the witness feels like he wants to further emphasize his point, he doesn't quite get through, and we try to take those things into consideration.
So you may proceed.
I would like to digress in a few places from the prepared statement. STATEMENT OF JAMES B. HIGGINS, CHAIRMAN, CATV SUBCOM
MITTEE, NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION; ACCOMPANIED BY: RITCHIE T. THOMAS, ESQ., OF COX, LANGFORD & BROWN, WASHINGTON COUNSEL, NCAA
Mr. Higgins. The members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association have a vital interest in the cable television provisions of the copyright revision legislation, Senate bill 1361, which is the subject of these hearings, and we appreciate the opportunity to appear today and explain our interest and our concerns.
The provisions ultimately incorporated into this legislation will broadly define the conditions under which cable television systems will be authorized to intercept programing broadcast over the air by television broadcast stations and carry those programs to cable system subscribers who may be located hundreds of miles away from the site of the broadcast.
The NCAA strongly believes that if serious injury to high schools and colleges is to be prevented, the authorization for such secondary transmissions by cable systems must be qualified in two special respects (1) In order to avoid the special and injurious impact unlimited secondary transmissions of broadcast television programs would have in the case of intercollegiate sports, cable systems should be denied authority under the blanket copyright license provisions to make secondary transmission of intercollegiate sports events to areas where they are not carried by local television broadcast stations. And I would like to come back to that point later.
(2) In order to avoid serious erosion of the protection which Congress extended to high schools and colleges in the Telecasting of Professional Sports Contests Act, which is Public Law 87–331, and regardless whether it makes any other specific provision regarding secondary transmission of professional sports events, the legislation should specifically deny cable systems authority to make secondary trans
missions of professional football games into areas where telecasts are prohibited under section 3 of that act.
A little backround on the NCAA itself. It is voluntary, nonprofit, education organiaztion composed of 771 members of which almost 700 are 4-year colleges and universities. The membership provides intercollegiate competition in 24 different sports in which each year more than 175,000 students compete.
A basic purpose of the association is to initiate, stimulate, and improve intercollegiate athletic programs for student athletes.
Of these sports programs there are only two, in fact only one sports program which makes any money for the colleges. Our football program takes in dollars, and our basketball program just about breaks even at most universities and colleges. Tennis, track, field, swimming, golf, all of the other programs provide no income.
We usually take what, if any, profits we make from our football and basketball programs and support these other programs. In support of these programs, the NCAA members annually spend over $237.4 million in the administration and conduct of intercollegiate competition. As I have pointed out, for most of these institutions, income from attendance from these major sports events is a substantial source of income of economic support for their programs. But there are only about 85 of all these 700 members whose intercollegiate programs are operated in the black. The programs are subsidized by the institutions or the State legislature because they feel that it is important to the national and local interest.
Getting back to point No. 1, in about 1951, the NCAA saw the impact that the media of television was going to have on our athletic programs, and appointed a committee to develop a television plan to control that impact.
We were very much afraid of the impact of television on the instadium attendance.
Now, we'd like to point out that the plan that we operate—I would like to read the purpose of the plan—that this plan is modified, improved, brought up to date every 2 years and it's been in effect now about 22 years. Through this plan, we control our television programing, and it is really more of a plan to protect the members from the impact of television upon the instadium attendance than it is for the dollars it generates.
We state that the purpose of this plan shall be: To reduce as far as possible the adverse effects of live television upon football game attendance, and in turn upon the athletic and related educational programs depending upon the proceeds therefrom; to spread football television participation among as many colleges as practicable; to promote college football through the use of television; to advance the overall interest of intercollegiate athletics; and to provide college football television to the public to the extent that they are compatible with these other objectives.
The provision of this plan is that we have about 15 dates a year, 15 Saturdays, in which we telecast football. If we telecast one game each Saturday, that would only accommodate 30 colleges, if they were all different schools. So to spread the exposure and what income is derived, we devised a system where on some weekends we would have regional telecasts. We'd have one game each on the east coast, the west coast, the Midwest, the South, the Southwest, maybe five in all. And we restrict the telecast of these games just to that area, so that there is only one game being telecast in any given area in the United States. We do that, as I stated, to increase exposure so that in all more schools are included and more schools benefit from the income.
However we don't want more than one game on television in any area. That is because we have myriads of colleges, small and large, playing and if we had all of these games on in every area, we would be smothered. A good example of what would happen—relating to my point No. 1-if capable systems were to be able to pick up distance signals of these regional games is provided in my area, in Texas. The only game we might have on local television would be, for instance, Arkansas and Texas Tech. And if I know that telecast is scheduled for a certain time of the day, say they're going to play at 2 o'clock, I schedule my game at night, or if it's going to be at night, I schedule my game that day.
We are going to be bothered by any game that people are interested in, they will be watching it. If cable television comes in, however, they may also pick up the game on the east coast. It might be Penn State
. Notre Dame, and start about 11 o'clock in the morning. Next, they will pick up the midwest game, it could be Michigan State-Michigan or LSU-Mississippi, and end up on the west coast with UCLA or somebody like that on the screen until 9 o'clock that night.
There is no place for us to run. Many, many schools and colleges will be disrupted in trying to attract a crowd, and for this reason, we would be in serious trouble. Without express limitations, obviously there would be nothing to prevent that.
My second point concerns the impact of professional games. Under this Public Law 87–331, Congress protected the colleges and high schools from the pros on Saturdays and Friday nights. The law does however, allow them to telecast if there is not a high school or a college game being played in the area.
For instance, Atlanta Falcons are playing up in Minnesota, and the NFL determines there is no college game and no high school game within 75 miles from Atlanta. The market is there and they probably will telecast that game back to Atlanta. And they wouldn't hurt antbody, they wouldn't hurt any high school game or any college game.
If, however, cable comes in, and picks it up off the air-and particularly later when the technology is more advanced, and they are able to interconnect-this game could be carried by interconnecting cable all over the United States into many communities which are trying to have a local school or college football game, whether it was Honolulu or Arizona, or wherever. We think certainly this protection the Congress gave us in Public Law 87-331 should be protected from this kind of erosion by cable.
Returning to telecasts of collegiate sports, as another example, we have the sellout exception. We may have scheduled one game to be shown all over the Nation that day, maybe University of Southern California and Notre Dame. However, the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas is sold out. People in Dallas can't get a ticket. People in Norman can't get a ticket, and people in Austin can't get a ticket, and it's not going to be televised.
So the plan allows that game to be televised in only those three communities. Obviously, their supporters should have an opportunity to see it, buy a ticket, or see it on television, and the network which buys our national program, they know this. They say, well, okay, we're going to lose those three markets. That's okay. We are going to buy the program with that limitation.
But what happens and has already happened, a cable company puts up their antenna and picks up the limited telecast and carries it to additional wide areas. I believe the last count-I forget how many thousand homes in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma where this Texas-Oklahoma game was pirated and shown. Obviously this hurts local colleges, and the big advertisers, the Chevrolet people, the people who advertise the NCAA package, they wonder why they should be spending their money on the NCAA package when their rival, Ford Motor Co., picked up the Texas-Oklahoma game, which was a whole lot better game, and had a lot more interest. As a result, our package is less valuable.
These are the salient points of our problem.
We think if the limitations we request are not placed on the cable TV systems, then the end result will be less college television. The big schools, the Notre Dames, the Ohio States, the Penn States, the Alabamas and Texas Universities, those people are going to be on television. But the people who will get hurt are the small schools that are getting some exposure because of our plan, because we spread out these exposures.
And if the protection will no longer be there, then those schools who are trying to regenerate in-stadium attendance will suffer. In addition, our plan diverts some of the money to the smaller schools. If no limitations are imposed on secondary transmissions of collegiate sports events, we think our plan will be completely disrupted, and would
Moreover, we believe that the secondary transmission authority should include a provision which extends to high schools and colleges the same protection in the case of secondary transmission of professional football games by cable systems as that which they now possess from television broadcasts of those games.
And in conclusion, the NCAA strongly believes that the limitations on cable systems' secondary transmission of sports events which we have requested are of vital importance to the colleges, junior colleges and high schools of the United States. We believe that these limitations are in the public interest, and that they must be incorporated into any legislation granting cable systems broad rights to make secondary transmissions of a television broadcast.
Senator McCLELLAN. All right.
STATEMENT OF JAMES B. HIGGINS, CHAIRMAN,
AL (SOLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION CABLE TELEVISION SUBCOMMITTEE, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON PATENTS, TRADEMARKS AND COPYRIGHTS
The members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has a vital interest in the cable television provisions of the copyright revision legislation (S. 1361) which is the subject of these hea rings, and we appreciate the opportunity to appear today and explain our interest and our concerns.
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
The provisions ultimately incorporated into this legislation will broadly define the conditions under which cable television systems will be authorized to intercept
programming broadcast over-the-air by television broadcast stations and carry those programs to cable system subscribers, who may be located hundreds of miles away from the site of the broadcast. The NCAA strongly believes that if serious injury to high schools and colleges is to be prevented, the authorization for such "secondary transmissions” by cable systems must be qualified in two respects :
1. In order to avoid the special and injurious impact unlimited secondary transmissions of broadcast television programs would have in the case of intercollegiate sports, cable systems should be denied authority under the blanket copyright license provisions to make secondary transmissions of intercollegiate sports events to areas where they are not carried by local television broadcast stations.
2. In order to avoid serious erosion of the protection which Congress extended to high schools and colleges in the Telecasting of Professional Sports Contests Act (Public Law 87-331)—and regardless whether it makes any other special sports events—the legislation should specifically deny cable systems authority to make secondary transmissions of professional football games into areas where telecasts are prohibited under Section 3 of that Act.
Before turning to a discussion of these points, however, some background information may be useful. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a voluntary, non-profit, educational organization composed of 771 members, of which 696 are four-year colleges and universities and 75 are allied and affiliated organizations. The NCAA membership provides intercollegiate competition in 24 different sports in which each year more than 175,000 students compete. A basic purpose of the Association is to "initiate, stimulate and improve intercollegiate athletic programs for student-athletes. ..." NCAA Constitution, Art. Two, Section 1 (a).
The NCAA recognizes that "competitive athletic programs of the colleges are designed to be a vital part of the educational system.” NCAA Constitution, Art Two, Section 2. In support of these programs, NCAA members annually spend, in total, more than $237.4 million in the administration and conduct of interco'legiate competition. For most of the MCAA's member institutions, income from attendance at major sports events is a substantial source of economic support for their total sports programs. Yet there are only approximately 85 colleges in the United States whose intercollegiate programs are operated in the black. For the rest of the NCAA members, athletic programs are operated at a deficit. When income from live gate receipts, television, radio and like sources are deducted, NCAA four-year institutions of higher education are today annually subsidizing intercollegiate athletic competition by approximately $23.3 million. This means that at a time when higher education is faced with grave financial pressures, it is running a deficit of $23.3 million because it thinks sports participation is a valuable educational experience.
We understand that the junior colleges have a comparable experience with the financing of athletic programs, and there are increasing reports of curtailment or elimination of high school extracurricular programs, including sports, as a result of budgetary limitations. Moreover, the finances of many high schools and colleges are such that the loss of just 200 admissions, representing $600 in lost income, would be very significant, and have an effect on the overall athletic program.
Against this background, any action adversely affecting in-person attendance at intercollegiate and interscholastic sports event is a matter of serious concern. Precisely this effect, however, is threatened if cable television systems are to be granted blanket secondary transmission authority without appropriate limitations.
II. LIMITATIONS SHOULD BE IMPOSED ON SECONDARY TRANSMISSIONS OF
INTERCOLLEGIATE SPORTS EVENTS
Since 1951, the members of the NCAA have implemented a series of television control plans in order: (1) to reduce the adverse effects of live television upon school and college football game attendance (and, in turn, on the athletic and physical education programs dependent upon the proceeds from that attendance), while (2) at the same time spreading television particiption among as many colleges as possible. The overall objectives have been to advance the interests of intercollegiate athletics and to provide college football television to the public to the fullest extent compatible with other objectives.