There are many ways to be thrown out of a college baseball press box (removing our pants and using them to try and snag foul balls has always been our favorite). But University of Louisville reporter Brian Bennett has discovered a new one. For the heinous crime of blogging from the press box during the College World Series — an ESPN event — Brian, you are outta here!
About an hour before Friday's first game, the NCAA sent U of L a memo and had it circulated through the press box. The memo said that no one would be allowed to blog during the games, which came as a pretty big surprise since I blogged throughout the Columbia Regional (and saw at least three other media representatives doing the same) and no one said a peep. Also, this restriction was not included on our credentials, and we never signed anything agreeing to this limitation. ... But ... the NCAA decided to revoke my credential and evict me from the press box in the fifth inning of Louisville's 20-2 victory.
We have no idea why anyone would even want to blog from the press box, or even be in there at all if they don't have to be. But we can also see that a college journalist has to wear a lot of hats, and maybe beat reporter and blogger are two of them. It's interesting, as Brian points out, that had he been across the street blogging off of the ESPN broadcast, there would have been no problem. But our NCAA/ESPN overlords see it differently.
As The Courier-Journal's attorney, Jon Fleischaker, told Rick Bozich for a story in tomorrow's newspaper: "It's a real question that we're being deprived our right to report within the first amendment from a public facility. Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV, everybody sees it. They (the NCAA) can't copyright that fact. The blog wasn't a simulcast or a recreation of the game. It was an analysis."
The First Amendment vs. the NCAA. The battle we've all been waiting for.