NCAA Ejects Reporter For Blogging at Game

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A reporter was ejected from an NCAA baseball tournament game for submitting live Internet updates during play.

Brian Bennett, a writer for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, was approached Sunday by an NCAA representative in the bottom of the fifth inning and told that blogging from an NCAA championship event is against the association's policies.

Bennett had done live blogging during Louisville's super regional games against Oklahoma State in the previous two games of the best-of-three series. The representative revoked Bennett's credential Sunday and asked him to leave the game.

"It's clearly a First Amendment issue," said Bennie Ivory, the newspaper's executive editor. "This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers. It's what we did during the Orange Bowl. It's what we did during the NCAA basketball tournament. It's what we do."

The newspaper's lawyer, Jon L. Fleischaker, added: "I think there's the potential for some action. We're still talking about it."

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said yesterday that Bennett was asked not to blog about game action before Sunday's game.

"In a nutshell, we asked the blogger repeatedly not to cover it in that manner, because it violates the policy, and he continued, and his credential was revoked," Williams said.

Williams said it didn't matter that the newspaper had blogged at other NCAA events.

"Essentially, we enforce the policy when we learn of violations," Williams said. "So the fact that he may have blogged at a championship before really has no effect on the policy."

The newspaper said the university circulated a memo on the issue from Jeramy Michaels, the NCAA's manager of broadcasting, before the first super regional game Friday. It said blogs are considered a "live representation of the game" and blogs containing action photos or game reports are prohibited until the game is over.

Bennett consulted with his editors and continued to blog, the newspaper said.

"It's a real question that we're being deprived of our right to report within the First Amendment from a public facility," Fleischaker said. "Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV. Everybody sees it. [The NCAA] can't copyright that fact."

Louisville won the game 20-2 to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

-- From News Services


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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