SEC credential policy may affect media’s coverage of UK sports

​The Associated Press and Gannett Co. announced Monday afternoon they would not accept credentials to cover Southeastern Conference sporting events under the current SEC credential policy.

Barring a major change in the current credential policy or a change in the stance of the AP or Gannett, these two organizations will not be covering any SEC sporting events this year.

Several other news organizations are still mulling their actions but could also choose to reject credentials under the current policy.

The Kentucky Kernel is still reviewing its options regarding the credential policy and has not yet decided whether or not to accept the new policy or to decline.

The AP and Gannett, which own several major newspapers in the South including The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger and The (Nashville, Tenn.) Tennesseean, rejected the controversial policy even after a revision was issued on Aug. 14. Gannett owns at least one newspaper in each of the nine states with an SEC member institution.

The AP is the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering organization and provides wire reports from games, practices and news conferences to many newspapers and Web sites, including ESPN.com, Yahoo.com and SportsIllustrated.com. Many smaller newspapers also rely on the AP for game coverage of various SEC teams across the South.

“We are not signing,” said AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin in a story from editorandpublisher.com. “We don’t want to agree to this. We don’t want to go into a stadium under these credential terms.”

Some of the major concerns media outlets have raised regarding the credential policy include:

  • A ban on live blogging on newspaper Web sites during games.
  • A ban on the use of video for game coverage on newspaper Web sites.
  • Photographs taken by media organizations during games may only be used for regular news coverage and cannot be sold, archived or used in any other form of coverage.
  • Newspapers are required to grant licensing privileges to the SEC and its member universities for all photos and other images at the request of the SEC and its member institutions.
  • Strict time-based restrictions on the use of pre-game and post-game video and audio.

The SEC issued its first media credential policy in early August. Several media organizations raised numerous concerns with the policy and the SEC decided to revise the policy.

After reviewing the revised policy over the past two weeks, several news organizations felt many of their concerns were not adequately addressed. The SEC could still issue another revision to the policy, in which case the organizations could change their stance and accept credentials.

​The policy will not affect the football team’s season-opening contest against Miami of Ohio, as the game is not played at an SEC site and media credentials for that game are issued by Miami of Ohio, a member of the Mid-American Conference. All other 2009 football games are run by UK or other SEC member institutions.
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