NCAA heading down the great path to censorship


Pardon me while I rant about something barely related to the Yankees for a few minutes…

On the same day that the friend-of-free-media and Russian President Vladimir Putin won Time Man of the Year honors, the NCAA released their new Live Blogging Policy. This is such a ridiculous step toward censorship. It’s rather shocking.

As The Big Lead noted, the NCAA will somehow try to enforce rather stringent live blogging rules. For football games, reporters are graciously allowed three updates per quarter and one at halftime; for basketball, it’s five times per half, once at halftime and twice per OT period; and for baseball, it’s just once an inning. The full draconian rules are available at the NCAA’s site as a PDF. This is a sad day for bloggers everywhere.

Ostensibly, the NCAA is worried about blogs somehow replacing live broadcasts of the game. If some blogger is allowed to update their live blog as often as they want, what’s stopping them from giving a text version of the play-by-play?

In reality, that’s a pretty weak argument. No one I know is going to sit a computer refreshing a blog while reading the play-by-play for the BCS Championship game. And if I were the NCAA, I’d be much more concerned with those online who are actively engaging in copyright infringing retransmissions of NCAA telecasts.

Blogs serve a journalistic purpose and provide an outlet for fans to share their common interest. Alienating sports sites and attempting to limit their post frequency during games is not only a form of censorship, but it’s bad business practice as well.

Categories : Rants
  • ceciguante

    i hope this orwellian policy draws a 1st Amendment challenge in the courts.

    • RZG

      If the federal government was limiting the communications then it would infringe on the 1st amendment but since it’s a private party (the NCAA) setting the limits it has nothing to do with the 1st amendment, it’s a business decision.

      IMO, it’s a bad business decision though.

  • EJ

    You’re going to see a divide in sports leagues over the next couple of years. The smart sports leagues are going integrate with blogs and the new media more and more, to the point where the current print journalists are forced to adapt. The dumb leagues will try to prevent the new media from taking some of their revenues, circle the wagons, and try to maintain the status quo.

    It’ll be interesting to see if any of the major leagues elect to do what the NCAA just did (and they’ve been very anti-blogging as an institution for a long time now).

  • Travis G.

    MLB actually seems pretty internet savvy (, Gameday and such) that i would THINK they wouldnt pull bullshit like this. but again, Bud Selig is currently at the helm and baseball has historically been slow to adapt.

    • Travis G.

      instead of ‘savvy’, read ‘friendly’.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Another shameful chapter in the NCAA book of shame (it’s a very,very long book).

  • JP

    I love the Putin reference. It’s really a shame to see how they do business.

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    How is it even possible for the NCAA to dictate how many times a reporter posts something on a blog? Maybe more accurately, how do they even think to themselves – “we can do this”? They seem to be hiring Putin’s lawyers.

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