A reporter for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, was told that blogging at games was against NCAA regulations and was escorted from the game.
Brian Bennett had been blogging the third game of the Louisville – Oklahoma State Super Regional baseball game, just like he had done the previous two games when he was approached by a representative of the NCAA and told what he was doing violated NCAA regulations and the NCAA official pulled his credential for the game. This is something that The Courier-Journal has been doing for quite some time. They blogged the Orange Bowl and the NCAA Basketball Championship games.
“It’s clearly a First Amendment issue,” said Bennie Ivory, the newspaper’s executive editor. “This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers. It’s what we did during the Orange Bowl. It’s what we did during the NCAA basketball tournament. It’s what we do.” (Quote from the AP story on ESPN.com)
To me this is crazy. How media works and how media covers an event has substantially changed. Blogging is a big part of this. If the NCAA is stuck in the 19th Century and getting into how the media covers events, they will be faced with some serious First Amendment suits, not only from The Courier-Journal but also other major media outlets.
In fact, the newspaper is studying their legal options on whether to pursue a first amendment suit against the NCAA.
“It’s a real question that we’re being deprived of our right to report within the First Amendment from a public facility,” Fleischaker said. “Once a player hits a home run, that’s a fact. It’s on TV. Everybody sees it. [The NCAA] can’t copyright that fact.” (Quote from the AP story on ESPN.com)
In the NCAA’s defense, they said that they asked a blogger to stop reporting on the game in that matter and he kept doing it.
“Essentially, we enforce the policy when we learn of violations,” Williams said. “So the fact that he may have blogged at a championship before really has no effect on the policy.” (Quote from the AP story on ESPN.com)
In my opinon, I think that the NCAA has overstepped their bounds here. The media, public and athletes, whomever, should be able to report and/or blog an event the way that they want. Especially since this is helping the NCAA promote their product which brings in a lot of money to them and colleges/universities across the country. What is wrong with getting more coverage?
People who want to watch it on TV or listen to the radio are going to watch it that way. But not everyone wants to do this and watches feeds and/or updates on the computer. Also, not all the games are available on radio or TV.
NCAA you overstepped your bounds here and I hope you face a pretty big lawsuit on this. There is something called the First Amendment and you are not exempt from that, a core amendment on what it means to be an American!
Sean on Michigan Sports Center has an interesting take on this issue as someone who blogs University of Michigan sporting events, “The NCAA Takes It Too Far… Again“.
The Courier-Journal’s Take: “Courier-Journal Reporter Ejected from U of L Game“