Legendary college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale has never called an NCAA tournament game for a U.S. audience in his career. CBS and Turner tried to change that this season, but he declined the offer.

Vitale told Sports Illustrated that CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus recently reached out to the analyst and asked him to call one or two NCAA tournament games this season, but, according to Vitale, he passed on the offer out of loyalty to ESPN.

Vitale said that after 40-plus years at ESPN, he wanted to remain loyal to the World Wide Leader.

“I was flattered when Sean asked, but I’m 83 now and I want to end my career with just ESPN on my résumé,” says Vitale. “What they did for me this last year has been amazing. They’ve treated me like royalty. It’s been 44 years just with them, and I just want to have ESPN on my résumé.”

Vitale has dealt with major health scares over the past few years, including lymphoma and melanoma, but is now cancer free. He also underwent vocal surgery in 2022. His doctors have limited him to just calling one college basketball game a week for ESPN.

Vitale, who joined ESPN in 1979, said that CBS had asked him in the past to call tournament games “10 and 20 years ago,” but at that time ESPN blocked CBS from using his services. According to Vitale, then ESPN president John Skipper told him, “Don’t get mad, but we’re not gonna let you do it. You’ve been with us. You’re identified with us.”

Vitale said that current ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro gave him his blessing to do a game for CBS this year, but in the end, Vitale declined.

“If you went through what I went through and you saw how ESPN treated me, they never cut my salary, always encouraged me. I wanted to be loyal to them.”

Vitale has called the Final Four in the past for ESPN’s international feed and will do so again this year, but he will end his career without ever calling an NCAA tournament game for a national audience.

Vitale did say that he does have one dream when it comes to his broadcasting career: He wants to call a basketball game on ESPN with Charles Barkley.