WXYZ: Station Manager.
- Michigan Basketball, a Wrangle Unfolds As a Locker Videotape Unwinds
Joe LaPointe, in the New York Times, writes, “This strange tale of a tape involves a passionate locker-room speech, finger-pointing by several television broadcasters, many misunderstandings and a motivational tactic that might backfire and motivate the wrong team.It started last Saturday afternoon in Lexington, Ky., after Michigan beat Virginia in the Southeast Regional final.Bo Schembechler, Michigan’s football coach and athletic director, spoke to the Wolverine basketball players about their next game, against the winner of the Midwest Regional final between Illinois and Syracuse.”You know damn well you can win this whole thing,” Schembechler said. ”And you know what I hope? I hope you get Illinois.” Wish Comes True
The players cheered, then Schembechler got his wish: Illinois defeated Syracuse and will face Michigan Saturday night, half an hour after the semifinal game between Duke and Seton Hall.
Problems started when a videotape of Schembechler’s locker-room performance was broadcast Sunday afternoon on CBS.
Jim Nantz, the studio host, introduced it by saying, ”We had a camera in the locker room and caught some of the speeches from Bo Schembechler.”
The first problem was that the camera belonged not to CBS but to WXYZ-TV in Detroit, an ABC affiliate.
”It was illegality on CBS’s part” to use the tape, said Tom Griesdorn, general manager of WXYZ. ”They took it without permission. If we wanted to get real nasty, we could make things unpleasant for everyone involved.”
Ted Shaker, executive producer for sports at CBS, saw the Schembechler clip on ESPN Saturday night and assigned aides to get permission to use it Sunday. ESPN confirmed that CBS got permission from ESPN, but admits it should not have given it. ESPN had the tape because WXYZ had transmitted it to Detroit from Kentucky through ESPN equipment. Giving Due Credit
”Channel 7 in Detroit was putting a hold on it, but they inadvertently forgot to tell us that,” said Mike Bogad, ESPN’s assignment-desk manager.Shaker said credit was given to WXYZ at the end of the CBS basketball telecast Sunday. That was about the time Bob Lipson was leaving Charleston, S.C., to fly home to Detroit after attending a bar mitzvah.Lipson, president of CTC Sports Inc. in West Bloomfield, Mich., produces Schembechler’s television show on WXYZ and makes videotapes Michigan uses in recruiting.He saw the Schembechler clip on CBS at the airport and called CBS to get permission to use it. When he landed, he learned that the tape was already his property. Under an agreement among WXYZ, CTC Sports and Schembechler, WXYZ sends a cameraman into the locker room after Michigan’s football and basketball games to tape for CTC.”It’s our video, not WXYZ’s, not CBS’s, not ESPN’s,” Lipson said.Lipson said he would probably have allowed the clip to air on WXYZ, but not on ESPN or CBS. The WXYZ sports producer, John Cwikla, said today that one of Lipson’s assistants had given WXYZ permission.Earlier this week, Michigan’s interim head coach, Steve Fisher, said he knew the Illini coaches would use the tape to motivate their players.
Lou Henson, the Illinois coach, said earlier this week that he had one copy of Schembechler’s locker-room speech but might need another cassette because ”we’re going to wear the first one out.””