Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 | 11:27 a.m.
Several fans of the UNLV basketball program have been vocal in their displeasure that Saturday's rivalry game at UNR won't be televised.
That nearly changed earlier this week.
UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood tried to coordinate having a feed of the game picked up by local television in Las Vegas, but his efforts were halted by a scheduling jam at Reno's Lawlor Events Center.
Livengood and UNR athletic director Cary Groth teamed up on the project, eventually gaining network approval to broadcast the game on television in Las Vegas and Reno.
But UNR is holding its December graduation at the Lawlor Events Center earlier Saturday — it is scheduled to end just three hours before tip-off — not allowing time for a broadcast crew to set up.
"How can a game like this not be scheduled to be televised?" said Livengood, who first began coordinating six weeks ago. "That's not acceptable for our fans nor should it be."
In recent years, football and basketball games at Reno have not been broadcast back to Las Vegas because of broadcasting rights issues between the networks owning the respective rights to the leagues. ESPN holds the rights to all games in UNR's Western Athletic Conference, but selected to not televise Saturday's basketball contest.
With UNR set to join the Mountain West Conference in 2012, the issue will go away, and all basketball and football games will be televised. The league has its own network, The Mtn.
"I don't know of any issues going forward," Livengood said.
Livengood, who spent 16 years as the athletic director at the University of Arizona before taking the UNLV job about a year ago, spent most of Thursday night glued to the television watching Arizona's rivalry football game against Arizona State. He said UNLV's rivalry with UNR is equally intense.
"It's every bit as big of a rivalry," Livengood said. "The passion of the fans for the UNLV-UNR (football) game was something else."
Following the UNR game, UNLV plays Boise State on Wednesday at the Orleans Arena. On Dec. 11, the Rebels play at Louisville, which will be shown on ESPNU.