NCAA Puts Limits On Live Blogging Sports Events
from the a-new-low dept
Acting even worse than a professional sports league, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), got things rolling last summer by ejecting a live blogger from a college baseball game. Apparently, the NCAA had decided that this was too close to "rebroadcasting" and ridiculously believing that fans might just watch a liveblog report rather than the actual event on TV. This kicked up some attention -- and you would think that the NCAA would have realized what a dumb policy this was and backed down. Not so.
Instead, the NCAA has now instituted special "live-blogging rules" for anyone credentialed to cover NCAA events. The rules change per sport, but they limit how many times you can blog during the course of a game. For baseball: once per inning (not even once per half-inning!). For basketball, it's five times per half, once during half-time, and twice in overtime. Football is three times per quarter and once at half-time. It even covers the more obscure sports: you can only blog 10 times per day at a swimming match, for example. You can see all the details here (pdf).
Now, before anyone goes screaming censorship or free speech or anything along those lines -- these are the rules that the NCAA is setting for credentialed reporters. And, as a private organization, the NCAA can set whatever rules it wants for handing out credentials, no matter how mind-numbingly stupid they may be. If I were a publication covering NCAA sports, I would simply buy my reporters tickets to the games, rather than getting them in on a press pass under such rules. What's really idiotic, though, is that this makes no sense. Limiting live blogging only hurts the sport. The people who follow live blogs are the really passionate fans -- the ones who love the game the most. They follow the live blogs not as a substitute for watching the game on TV or attending in person -- but because they cannot view the games that way and/or they want to feel the camaraderie of discussing the event with other passionate fans. Cutting off the ability of a reporter to feed info to these fans simply makes no sense. It's hurting your most passionate fans for no good reason whatsoever.