SBD/Issue 236/Sports Media

SEC May Announce More Revisions To New Media Policy By Today

Gannett Directs Its Newspapers Not To
Sign On To SEC's New Media Policy
The SEC "continues to look into its new media policy amid mounting complaints from news organizations and is expected to announce additional revisions this week, possibly as early as today," according to David Paschall of the CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS. SEC Associate Commissioner for Media Relations Charles Bloom yesterday confirmed that the conference "continues to review its policy," but declined any further comment. Several organizations, including the AP and Gannett, "refuse to comply with new league guidelines that limit audio and video usage on newspaper Web sites" (CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS, 8/26). EDITOR & PUBLISHER's Joe Strupp reported Gannett has directed its daily newspapers that cover the SEC "not to sign on to a controversial new credential policy," while the AP also has "declared it will not agree to the new rules." Gannett owns about a "dozen newspapers that would cover SEC teams in nine states," including the Nashville Tennessean and Louisville Courier-Journal. Gannett Senior Associate General Counsel Barbara Wall said, "We are reviewing the credentials and have several objections. We are hopeful that the SEC will revise them further." AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin: "We are not signing. We don't want to agree to this. We don't want to go into a stadium under these credential terms" (, 8/24).

OUT OF BOUNDS? In Louisville, Eric Crawford writes while the SEC is "well within its rights to sell broadcast rights to its games, there's a legitimate question over whether it can restrict news coverage of its events." Crawford: "If it wants to operate like a pro league, let it be treated like one. If it persists in this hardball policy -- some of which applies to ticketholders and amateur bloggers -- the SEC will take a big step in that direction. But as a college sports entity, it also has taken a big step out of bounds" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/26).

FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP: In Virginia, Bob Molinaro wrote with ESPN "providing the money and coverage, the SEC is poised to become the most widely disseminated, wealthiest college football league in the country." The conference ranks "second only to the NFL in brand appeal," and now is putting "even more daylight between itself and its so-called competitors." By partnering with ESPN, the SEC "gets to enjoy the fruits of endless hours of hype on all sorts of electronic devices" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/24). Meanwhile, the SEC and ESPN have launched the SEC Academic Network, a new Web site designed to promote classroom endeavors of its member schools. The network, powered by technology, will feature content from each school ranging from research and economic development to civic engagement and service. The network launch will include five videos from each SEC school, and the videos will be updated throughout the year (SEC).

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