Along with many things the Southeastern Conference likes to control, add the media to that list.
The SEC has adopted a new media policy that will give them total control over any content that is produced with SEC ties. This includes photos, radio and video highlights, and, to some extent, print.
So for example, if either Tennessee or WKU is to win on a last-second Hail Mary, the video or photo highlights of that play are property of the SEC, which in turn means media outlets may be denied usage of that by rule.
This new policy comes on the heels of the SEC’s new fan policy that puts a great amount of restriction on fans who live blog, take pictures and send information from SEC events from the stands.
With WKU going to Knoxville to play the Volunteers for both teams’ season openers, this is a big issue. For a small market like Bowling Green, the Toppers are a huge source of entertainment and revenue for the community, especially the media. Restrictions like this can hinder the coverage of WKU in some aspects, who have played an SEC team in football six of the past seven seasons and play SEC members Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in other sports on a consistent basis.
This is just another way the SEC is trying to make themselves an entity of their own, playing bigger than the NCAA. This is all a new tactic in trying to steer the fanbases to the SEC Network and their coverage, while other media markets (some big, some small) suffer in their coverage.
Gannett Newspapers and the Associated Press have announced they will not sign the media credential agreement in protest.
My own thought is, where is the NCAA in all this? We all know that the NCAA has its own agenda in who they police and who they let slide, and if any conference gets a free pass for more major indiscretions, it’s the SEC. But media coverage makes their world go around on the athletic field, and in terms of that coverage, the national, regional and local media is a bigger entity than the SEC Network or SECSports.com.
SEC Associate Athletic Commissioner Charles Bloom announced that they are making revisions to the policy, which better come in major ways if they expect to keep any amount of the dwindling respect the media has for that conference.