Air the turtle!

Being a biased University of Maryland-College Park graduate, I’ve always wondered why no local TV affiliates have ever worked out an agreement with the school to broadcast Terrapin football and basketball games. It seems like it would be a good move to grab some ratings and boost the number of viewers for whichever channel chose to be so bold.

Even despite an endless line of injuries, the football program and Coach Friedgen just clinched a bowl bid in a must-win game; the men’s basketball team and red-faced Gary Williams are always entertaining; and last but definitely not least, the Lady Terps are wearing out opponents on the hardcourt on their way to an early 9-0 record and No. 3 ranking nationwide — all with Coach Brenda Frese expecting twins very soon.

There are a lot of Terp supporters who I’m sure would like to see more airtime for their fearsome turtles, especially with the Ravens season being dead in the water and the baseball team that plays across the street from them in its usual state of disarray. Just consider that there have been multiple bowl appearances in the past five years for the football team, a men’s national basketball championship in 2002, and a women’s national basketball championship in 2006.

Am I a delusional sports fan, or do local networks really “fear the turtle” enough to make them nonexistent on the airwaves?

-FRANCIS SMITH, Special Publications Assistant Editor

Just how big was Bromwell’s break?

State Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, who admitted dealing in favors, got a six-month break on the start date of his 7-year prison term. But lawyers for Bromwell and his wife, Mary Patricia (who faces her own year-and-a-day term), say it’s a matter of special circumstances, not special treatment, since the couple’s two youngest children are just 11 and 14 years old.

Even Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who prosecuted the case, agreed that such an allowance for parents of small children who are sentenced to incarceration at the same time is not unprecedented.

“It happens,” she said after the Bromwells broached the idea in court Nov. 16.

William B. Purpura, Mrs. Bromwell’s attorney, said sentences have been staggered in cases with similar facts in other federal districts and in state courts. He said even business partners have been allowed to serve their sentences roughly consecutively.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say people involved in white collar crimes get this break and those involved in drug crimes don’t,” said Herbert Better, a former assistant U.S. attorney and now at the Baltimore office of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

What do you think?

-BRENDAN KEARNEY, Legal Affairs Writer

The world of sports: Billionaires vs. billionaires

When Major League Baseball’s players went on strike, the question was whether you wanted to support the millionaires or the billionaires.

Now, in the case of the NFL Network vs. Humongous Cable Companies (including Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner), you can decide between billionaires and billionaires.

It’s really hard — at least for me — to want either side to win.

When the NFL started the NFL Network in November 2003, the big issue was on what level of service it would be carried by cable systems. Basically, the NFL wanted its network to be included on service levels that cable customers didn’t have to pay extra for. The cable operators, on the other hand, wanted to place the NFL Network on “sports tiers” that customers had to buy.

The dispute caused the NFL Network to be originally carried only on DirecTV and a handful of small cable systems.

Eventually, the NFL and the Humongous Cable Companies struck an agreement, and for a couple of years the NFL Network was available on lesser tiers. This summer, however, Humongous Cable Companies moved the network to premium services, which cost customers an extra $2 to $8 per month.

(I left out many details, but, believe me, you really don’t care about them.)

So now you’re up to date.

And, unless you’re paying extra for it, you’ll need to listen to tonight’s game between the 10-1 Dallas Cowboys and the 10-1 Green Bay Packers on WBAL radio or go to your favorite sports bar.

What’s your opinion on who’s to blame?

—ED WALDMAN, Managing Editor/Business

Survey: Even at highest levels, women lawyers earn less

A new study (PDF) says female equity partners earn a lot less than male equity partners — nearly $90,000 a year less than their male counterparts’ median of $625,000. Though to someone making a reporter’s salary, $537,000 a year is a princely (princessly?) sum, this is still really not cool.

Anyone out there have any thoughts on the disparity, its causes and possible fixes?

-CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer