I came across this at Greensboro N&R editor John Robinson's blog:
According to Chris Korman of the Indiana Student Daily, Early
in the second half of the game, reporters from The Herald-Times and the
Indiana Daily Student were asked to stop posting commentary on a joint
live blog they were hosting with two other outlets.
Steve Shutt, an assistant athletic director at Wake Forest,
cited an ACC rule permitting only four blog posts per half when making
the request, which both publications complied with. The live blog
continued to be operated by contributors from the H-T, IDS,
HoosierNation.com and Inside the Hall who were not credentialed to
cover the event.
After the game, Shutt said that the ACC rule on blogging was probably not in writing anywhere but followed common practice.
As John points out anyone in the stadium with a Blackberry (or iPhone or any other smart phone) could post to their blog as often as they want, so why should the ACC or any school try and limit the number of blog posts written by reporters in attendance? Maybe their media deals require them to limit coverage of all kinds, but if so they ignore today's reality. I can buy a ticket to a Wake Forest game and from my seat rattle off all kinds of thumb-posts like "Refs are bums and handing the game to Duke" or "Why's Gaudio pulling Ish with two minutes left?" or "My daughter thinks the point guard is cute." Actually, forget that last one.
A commenter on John's post also rightly asks why anyone would follow a rule that's "probably not in writing anywhere". This whole thing is silly on all kinds of levels.
Update: If I'd clicked through to John Robinson's source and read the entire story I would have found this:
After the game, Shutt said that the ACC rule on blogging was probably
not in writing anywhere but followed common practice. Last year, the
NCAA began limiting the number of blog posts reporters could make
during all of its championships events. He also said that Wake Forest could not allow the dissemination of
information about the game on the Internet by courtside reporters
because it violated the multimedia rights agreement the school has with
ISP (International Sports Properties). Under the agreement, which is for between $800,000 and $1.2 million per
year according to Shutt, ISP owns the radio and Web rights to Wake
Forest games. ISP relies on drawing viewers to the Wake Forest Web site — which
includes a GameTracker feature that allows fans to follow the game in
close-to real-time — to set its advertising rates and generate revenue,
so the university could not allow reporters to operate a blog that may
divert readers from the official web site.
ISP is a Winston-Salem based company that is doing quite well in the college sports management arena. It would be interesting to interview them and see what they think about all this. Questions I'd ask would be:
- If someone buys a ticket and starts blogging from their seat would you try and have them kicked out if they didn't cease and desist?
- What are you doing about the fan with a fairly popular blog/forum who has said, "I'm not going to blog live from the event, but let's have an open discussion on my site as the game is going." That fan could be doing it while watching the game on TV, (actually that's already going on at places like DeadSpin), and they're likely "stealing" just as many people from the official website as the sites for the various press people. Heck, they're probably taking more than the press folks, so why aren't they going after them?
I'd ask these questions because I think that ISP's business model is going to have to adjust rapidly to the new media environment. The centralized control of a school's coverage is a dinosaur and they are going to have to figure out how to embrace the various and sundry folks that are covering their client schools. If they aren't already doing it I'd suggest something like an affiliate program that would allow them to pass some advertising benefits on to the independent bloggers, forum hosts, etc. and at the same time keep their advertisers happy.