NCAA bounces Ky. reporter for blogging during baseball game

By The Associated Press
06.12.07

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A reporter was ejected last weekend from an NCAA baseball tournament game for submitting live Internet updates during play.

Brian Bennett, a writer for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, was approached June 10 by an NCAA representative in the bottom of the fifth inning and told that blogging from an NCAA championship event is against NCAA policies.

Bennett had done live blogging during Louisville's super regional games against Oklahoma State in the previous two games of the three-game series. The representative revoked Bennett's press credential on June 10 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 the June 10 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blogger repeatedly not to cover it in that manner, because it violates the policy, and he continued, and his credential was revoked," Williams said.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 Michiaels, the NCAA's manager of broadcasting, before the first super regional game on June 8. The memo stated blogs are considered a "live representation of the game" and blogs containing action photos or game reports are prohibited until the game is over.

"Any reference to game action in a blog or other type of coverage could result in revocation of credentials," the policy said, according to a copy provided to the Associated Press.

Bennett consulted with his editors and continued to blog, submitting the first report at 4:12 p.m. EDT June 10, 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 defeated Oklahoma State 20-2 to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.