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NCHC signs on with CBS Sports Network

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The three-year television contract that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference signed with CBS Sports Network on Tuesday is a mixed bag for the University of North Dakota and its fans.

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CBS Sports Network says it will broadcast a minimum of 18 NCHC games per season, including the semifinals and championship of the startup conference's postseason tournament beginning in 2013-14.

The good news is that more UND games - home and road - will now be available in high definition. All CBS Sports Network games come in high-def.

The bad news is that the deal is an exclusive one and UND will not be allowed to renew its contract with Fox College Sports, which has allowed the school to broadcast every home game nationally for the past three seasons.

UND will likely appear on CBS Sports Network five times per season. Games that are not picked up by CBS Sports Network will only be allowed to be broadcast locally and regionally on UND Sports Network, but will not be distributed nationally.

UND spokesperson Jayson Hajdu said that the school also is "working on a plan for the day when the FCS contract expires," but didn't detail what that means.

The school also is exploring options for Twin Cities viewers.

NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr acknowledged that UND was "doing what's good for the conference."

UND is the only school in the league that has all of its home games broadcast nationally.

"This is, long term, good for the conference," Scherr said. "It's great for college hockey fans. Based on my conversations with (UND athletic director Brian Faison), they are pleased with what the agreement means for each school in the conference. I think we have to continue to expand it."

CBS Sports Network is available on Midcontinent Cable with the sports package. It also is available on both DirecTV and Dish Network.

The network will choose which games it broadcasts with input on the league based on marketability of the teams, viewership of teams, success of the teams and stakes of the game. It is unlikely any team will be shown more than five times.

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