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Reporter tossed for blogging NCAA baseball tourney game in Louisville

6/11/2007

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

Brian Bennett, a writer for The (Louisville, Ky.)
Courier-Journal, was approached Sunday 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
credential Sunday 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 Monday that Bennett was asked
not to blog about game action before Sunday's 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and his credential was revoked," Williams said.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, like the Orange Bowl and NCAA basketball
tournament.

"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 Friday. It said blogs are considered
a "live representation of the game" and blogs containing action
photos or game reports are prohibited until the game is over.

Bennett consulted with his editors and continued to blog,
submitting the first report at 4:12 p.m. ET Sunday, 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 won the game 20-2 to advance to the College World
Series in Omaha, Neb.