NCAA Stifles Super-Regional Coverage

I’ll be at the North Carolina-South Carolina super-regional this evening, but don’t expect any in-game analysis or updates. I’m not slipping in my coverage, though; blame the NCAA. Word came down today that the NCAA will no longer allow blogging from the press box during super-regionals because blogging “is considered a live representation of the game” and all live representations of the games are the exclusive property of the NCAA’s official rights holders.

I called NCAA manager of broadcasting Jeramy Michiaels to inquire about this policy, and he said the NCAA wants to make sure that your eyes are either glued to the television or the live Web feed from the site owned by one of the NCAA’s broadcast partners–not Baseball America or any other media outlet.

Of course, nothing would stop us from staying in our offices, following the games and blogging updates; the NCAA just doesn’t want us blogging updates from the sites. It seems shortsighted to prohibit media outlets from giving college baseball as much quality coverage as possible, and arrogant for the NCAA to spurn those who wish to cover (and thus publicize) games just to appease its partners.

What’s worse, this decree didn’t come down until the day of the first super-regional games, when all media outlets have already planned their coverage. CSTV, for example, has devoted plenty of resources to send live bloggers to each regional site; now, on the day super-regionals begin, the NCAA is shutting them down. Michiaels reminded me that this isn’t a new policy. The NCAA has always had the right to prohibit blogging (live transmissions from the press box), but they’ve only now seen fit to enforce it.

I don’t see how it’s a problem that people want to read more coverage about college baseball. In fact, more coverage is usually seen as an asset. But the NCAA essentially has decided that its official sources are enough. In other words, the NCAA wants only media that pay for the privilege of covering its baseball tournament to bring you anything except a game story the next day.