clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NCAA Continues To Fight Bloggers For Reasons That Pass Understanding

The NCAA, protectorate and master of the student athlete, has issued an edict from the hallowed halls in Indianapolis to contain unruly bloggers, for alas they are the scum of the earth.

Via The Wiz:

Reporters at Kirk Ferentz's news conference Tuesday were handed a surprise by Iowa officials: A notice detailing conditions and limitations of the NCAA Blogging Policy.

That policy, which also gives the host institution final authority on whether a credential holder or credential entity is following policy, allows for only five blog entries per half, one at halftime and two in an overtime period of football and basketball games.

What sparked this missive? No one knows for sure, but the educated guess is that it was aimed at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, which hosted a separate live blogging sessions by Mike Hlas and Scott Dochterman during last Saturday's Maine-Iowa game.

Actually this is more than the NCAA used to allow.  Previously they said no live blogging could occur for bloggers at an NCAA sanctioned game but got called out on 1st Amendment grounds for the limitation.  Now it is basically 13 updates a game.  I supposed the intrepid blogger can do with that, but at the same time it still seems a little silly.  What exactly is the NCAA worried about here?

The primary reason given was the live blogging was an infringement on the NCAA's right to be the sole owner of the game broadcast.  The NCAA means to be the sole source of any football or basketball game either through their own website or any number of TV/radio/internet contracts they have.  So Yahoo or ESPN has rights to stream updates of the game via scoreboards or stats because that is likely coming from an official source.  Bloggers, mostly associated with a local newspaper or radio station are a different animal.  They are permitted to be there by the member school to report on the game.  However, the NCAA sees real time updates by these folks as an outside source.  The thinking goes, that somehow people getting updates via live blogs is taking away from the distributors that are licensed by the NCAA.

What a bunch of poppycock.  The only time I have seen a person rely on a live blog as their primary source of information about a game is if it is not televised and they cannot get it on the radio.  Even then those folks are probably also depending on one of the many real time stats sources out there to follow the game and use the live blog for some minor specific details.  In my opinion, the main reason you have a live blog going is to provide some sort of analysis of the game.  The reason I do it is because I am sitting in my living room watching the game and likely saying or thinking about what is happening in the game and decided that I should post that on my blog for folks to interact with me about it as I would if I was sitting in the same room with them.

The concern of the NCAA is that someone is using their credentials to create this kind of interaction and therefore bring traffic to their own site.  That is where I think the boys in Indianapolis have a burr in the saddle.  It is the very fact that someone is using their privilege to be at the game and exploiting for the purposes of attracting hits to their website instead of the licensed ones.  The NCAA is fine with the media writing about the games and giving opinions after the fact but the idea that someone is sitting there discussing the game in an online forum and attracting hits to their site is unacceptable.

This is just further evidence of how the NCAA feels the need to control everything.  Live bloggers pose zero threat to the money the NCAA makes off these games or the advertising revenue brought in by the media distributing this game.  People turn to live blogs for the same reason they read blogs over regular media coverage and that is the straightforward and sometimes witty opinions offered which in many cases either have local flavor or team bias.  If anything it enhances the fan's experience which should be reason enough to be hands off about what live blogs can do at NCAA games.