SEC Is Just Misunderstood With This New Policy

Recall the news yesterday that the SEC was planning massive restrictions on usage of things like highlights and, according to TECHDIRT, “memories.” These days, it’s part and parcel of any giant new digital media deal, but it’s all so 20th century all the same.

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(But how in the world are we supposed to genuflect before Tebow if most of the Internet can’t regularly use his likeness?)

After all, a ban on YouTube highlights? A 72 hour window to use highlights? Restrictions that only salaried media employees can cover SEC events? No twittering from the game, even from fans?! Heh… funny thing about that guys, you’d never guess; the SEC needs some time to tweak those rules just a tad.


The policy, designed to drive online traffic to SEC schools and the new SEC Digital Network, limits TV stations to show highlights for only 72 hours after the conclusion of a game. It also forbids the news media from posting practice and news conference video online. In order to receive a credential to cover an SEC event, the media is supposed to sign the policy and agree to the terms.

(SEC Associate Commissioner Charles) Bloom said the ban of online video, the 72-hour window for TV highlights, and the definition of an “event” are among the items that could be changed. The policy defines an “event” as including practices and press conferences.

A clause that states a media member must be a “full-time salaried employee” will definitely be changed, Bloom said. “We’re dealing in a world with stringers and college media,” he said.

“Within probably 24 to 36 hours after we sent out the policy, we started getting calls and questions,” Bloom said. “We went back to our legal counsel and we were told there is a window where we could tweak the policy.”

One of the most important aspects to the story is that all 12 schools signed off on the deal. They couldn’t give a damn if a media member were allowed to cover them and in what fashion; if they had their druthers, it’d all be covered by the SEC’s restrictive policies and be used to put money in their bank accounts, not to serve any public good (as much of a “public good” sportswriting is, anyway). So, media members, it doesn’t matter how much you kiss a coach’s ass; he still wants you to go away.

It remains to be seen how much the guidelines are, in fact, “tweaked.” There’s no indication yet, which is fine; the situation’s still “developing,” as they say. But for an example of the shortsightedness of pay-for-all-content policies like these, look at HULU; they’ve got condensed college football games all over the place.

Below, we’ve embedded a game from 10 years ago between USC and Notre Dame. 45 minutes that you don’t have to pay for or go to some proprietary site to watch. Does it spell doom for the Pac-10 or Notre Dame? Of course not. If nothing else, it gets you, the viewer, thinking about the team in the run-up to the season. Fans: enjoy. SEC: take notes.