ELEVEN YEARS AGO TOM ODJAKJIAN WAS INTERVIEWING FOR a job as an
assistant sports information director at Princeton. Across the desk,
associate AD Sam Howell, who was in charge of the Tigers' scheduling,
said, ''Well, men's basketball has an open home date in late January.
What would you do with it?'' Odjakjian, all of 22 and just nine
months out of Lafayette College, didn't miss a beat. ''Schedule
Hofstra,'' he said. ''They played in the other half of the NCAA
tournament doubleheader you were in last season, so your fans will be
familiar with them and should turn out. And they lose five seniors
from this season's team, so they shouldn't give you too much trouble
-- which is what you'll want in late January, right after your exam
Howell didn't need to hear any more. Princeton booked Hofstra for
that date -- won the game, too -- and, oh, yes, hired Odjakjian.
Odjakjian stayed 2 1/2 years at Princeton before applying his skills
elsewhere. Today the man known within the trade as O.J. is program
manager in charge of college basketball for ESPN, which will televise
211 games this season. Among O.J.'s latest scheduling coups is a Dec.
17 matchup between Oklahoma and Loyola Marymount, the top two teams
in scoring last season. ''We hope we'll explode the scoreboard,'' he
All told, no fewer than 1,200 games will be broadcast on
over-the-air network and cable TV this season. Even so, a tube date
is coveted by most schools; they would lower the backboards if TV
wanted them to. Television, as always, is where the money is. The
chart below indicates how much. An example? Louisville will pocket
roughly $800,000 for eight appearances on the major networks in
'88-89. -- A.W.
BOX: CBS NBC ABC
No. of Televised Games, 1988-89 Season 27 20 20
Primary Conference Affiliation Big East ACC Big
Rights Fees* $75,000 $90,000
Paid to Schools to to to
(per team, per game) $175,000 $110,000
November 16, 1988