SEC reviewing new media policy

SEC reviewing new media policy

August 26th, 2009 by David Paschall in Sports - College

The Southeastern Conference continues to look into its new media policy amid mounting complaints from news organizations and is expected to announce additional revisions this week, possibly as early as today.

SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom confirmed Tuesday that the league continues to review its policy but declined further comment.

Several organizations, including Gannett and The Associated Press, refuse to comply with new league guidelines that limit audio and video usage on newspaper Web sites. The SEC football season kicks off Sept. 3 when South Carolina plays at North Carolina State.

The new policy, which was first distributed to SEC members Aug. 6, is intended to steer more Web traffic to league schools and the new SEC Digital Network. Some of the restrictions would prevent newspapers from using audio and video highlights from games and would prevent them from archiving and selling photographs.

So if Tennessee won another national championship under the new policy, no paper in the state could run a commemorative section with in-house photographs.

UT Trustee Jim Hall, a Chattanooga resident, said he opposes the SEC's new limitations on media coverage because they amount to an infringement on the freedom of press.

"Those marketing decisions belong to the fans," Hall said. "These schools are state-supported institutions, and to restrict coverage for fans to benefit a handful of people is wrong."

The new policy would affect not only news organizations but also fans, as they would not be permitted to take video of games from camera phones or provide running game updates on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Staff writer Joan Garrett contributed to this story.