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NDSU bans media coverage of sports unless outlets pay for rights

January 9, 2016: North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during a post game interview after winning the FCS Championship game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Toyota Stadium in Frisco Texas (Photo by Mikel Galicia/Icon Sportswire)

North Dakota State University officials announced Friday that they had put new restrictions on media access for athletic events. As reported by Fargo newspaper The Forum, media outlets without broadcast rights basically won’t be allowed access as credentialed media members. Among the terms of the restrictions are than outlets without access rights won’t be able to provide in-depth gameday coverage such as live-streaming, live-blogging, or interviewing players or coaches during the season.

As of now, the football team has a broadcast agreement with local KVLY-TV and all NBC affiliates in the state of North Dakota. Men’s and women’s basketball have deals with Midco Sports Network. Restricting access to the media allows the university to make more money, as their broadcast deals see them receiving a portion of the revenue from the networks. According to The Forum, their radio contract stipulates that they should receive 30 percent of revenue from all Bison-related content.

The first reaction is that some of this will likely be difficult to effectively enforce. Major League Baseball has long had strict restrictions against using unauthorized GIFs and videos from games, but if you’ve ever had Twitter open as a gameday companion, you’ve likely seen that GIF policy violated just about every inning. It will be exceptionally hard for the university to weed out every individual or blog providing live Twitter coverage of the games.

The second reaction is that an NCAA team doesn’t need to take such drastic measures to pad the bottom line. The system is already set up to substantially favor athletic departments and universities financially. They already don’t have to pay athletes to compete for their programs and advertise their institutions. A handful of podcasts and gameday posts free from financial agreements with the school will be a far cry from causing the death of the NCAA.

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