Jay Bilas is going to be a thorn in the side of the NCAA for many years to come.
The longtime ESPN analyst and Duke grad has just signed a fancy new contract with ESPN that will run for eight years through the 2022-2023 season. It’s one of the longest contracts in sports television, reminiscent of the megadeals Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler signed with Bristol over on the college football side.
Details on the announcement from ESPN:
Jay Bilas, known for an extensive knowledge of men’s basketball and his insightful analysis about the entire sports industry, has agreed to an extension with ESPN through the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season, it was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production and Programming.
Bilas, who is featured on ESPN’s game and studio coverage, will call top men’s college basketball games involving the nation’s marquee teams and conferences and will be present at the Men’s Final Four through studio coverage, as well as game telecasts on ESPN International. Saturday’s will be busy for Bilas as he will add ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV game-of-the-week assignment to his analyst role on the popular Saturday morning and evening college basketball program, College GameDay Covered by State Farm. He has been an analyst on the show that originates from the site of the Saturday Primetime telecast since its debut in 2005.
Bilas will contribute to several ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and SportsCenter. His extension will keep him on ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft, where he has been providing in-depth player scouting and analysis since 2003.
The biggest news to come out of the new deal is Bilas becoming the new Saturday Primetime analyst alongside Dan Shulman on ESPN’s top college basketball game every week. Earlier this week, The Big Lead had reported Bilas’ move into Saturday Primetime. It makes sense from the standpoint that Bilas will be on-site with College GameDay earlier in the day and it moves the network’s basketball synergy closer to what it possesses on the football side.
Bilas stepping in for Dick Vitale seems to be a passing of the torch like moment to cement Bilas as the network’s top college basketball analyst. Vitale remains at ESPN for this season and the following two campaigns after signing his own contract extension with the network.
Given his stature and presence on ESPN’s college basketball coverage, his contributions to the NBA Draft (including making light of his own drinking games) and his continued outspokenness against the NCAA’s antiquated rules, Jay Bilas has grown into one of the most influential voices in sports television. And with this new deal, that will remain the case for quite some time. He gotta go to work.