North Dakota State is cutting off outlets from covering Bison athletics unless they’ve paid a media rights ransom, according to local Fargo newspaper The Forum.
University administrators, apparently feeling they hadn’t yet gotten rich enough off unpaid student-athlete labor, are going so far as to ban blogging during games from non-partner media members. Also banned? Covering press conferences live, hosting any live programs from NDSU’s campus, or interviewing coaches.
NDSU’s director of sales and broadcasting says there’s nothing to see here:
When asked if a non-rights media outlet would be granted permission to do some of these things by special request, Jorgenson said: “It would probably be denied.”
“This is nothing out of the ordinary,” Jorgenson said. “Most schools are doing this.”
It’s unclear to us how a public university can enact these kinds of restrictions—most schools, we must emphasize, are not doing this—but NDSU has long held a unique position within college football, and especially in FCS. NDSU’s football broadcasts have more in common with another famous ND: Bison games are exclusively aired on NBC affiliates across the state of North Dakota.
The Forum requested TV contract details from the university, but NDSU denied the request saying they had not yet been “finalized.” The rule is a major hit to local ABC broadcaster Jeff Kolpack, whose family has been covering Bison sports for more than 50 years—with AP state Sportswriter of the Year honors being earned by three generations of Kolpacks—and who is now shut out from reporting on NDSU athletics.
h/t to Mike