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U. of Kentucky stops student paper from distributing at football games

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Crash, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Crash

    Crash Active Member

    The University of Kentucky put the kibosh on the Kentucky Kernel's distribution of its papers at UK football games a couple weeks ago, citing a contract with IMG that gave away exclusive media rights to the company. Apparently, nothing that isn't IMG-licensed or approved is allowed to be distributed at UK sporting events, including the university's free (and award-winning) student paper.

    I found this quote from UK PR head Jay Blanton particularly troubling:
    It's as if UK is perfectly willing to sell away the Constitutional rights of its students.

    As a UK grad and a former Kernel staffer, I have no doubt that they're going to fight this if they have any case (which I, and several First Amendment lawyers, believe they do).

  2. Journo13

    Journo13 Member

    I remember a case nearby where a high school barred an independent student newspaper from distributing on campus. Someone from the Student Press Center (can't remember the exact name) told the local metro paper that the school was violating rights.

    Unless IMG produces their own newspaper, I'm not sure how you can stop the newspaper without breaking the Constitution.
  3. kmayhugh

    kmayhugh Member

    I think the university has at least some sort of case, though I think I'd favor the students' case.

    Telling them they can't distribute at football games is a time-place-manner restriction. And they aren't targeting the newspaper specifically, so it could be argued that it's content-neutral. And since they are giving them the opportunity to work with IMG to get licensing, you could argue it is narrowly-tailored.

    I'd lay odds on the students winning, but it's not hopeless for the university.
  4. Cape_Fear

    Cape_Fear Active Member

    If I'm the students, I get as close as possible. If I can't get in the stadium, I'm on the sidewalks leading up to it.
  5. zonazonazona

    zonazonazona New Member

    Take it one further: If I'm the University, I honor the contract and, with IMG's "help," find a happy medium where students can do just what you said -- get a close to the stadium as possible.

    Maybe I'm being blind, but i don't see the constitutional breach on this... "public" entity or not, just merely existing doesn't give right to distribute on public property... that's not a freedom of speech issue ... that probably doesn't sound right, but what I guess I'm trying to say, is that the University isn't stopping them from printing and distributing, it's just saying they can't do it IN/AT the stadium... it's a shame, but doesn't seem illegal to me...

    In the city I work in, the city government doesn't allow distribution of news periodicals at city hall, and it's never seemed unconstitutional to me. In fact, the logic seems, well, logical. They don't want to be deemed as inappropriately tied in with any of the local media outlets...

    Help me out on this, i'm honestly wondering...
  6. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    I would hope that UK officials took 5 minutes to place a call to IMG to say, "Hey, guys, can we write into our deal an exception for the student newspaper's distribution?"

    If IMG says yes, then no more issue.

    If IMG says no, then make their rationale public (by leaking it to the student paper, yuk yuk)
  7. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    Unbelievable. Everyone who signed that contract or gave it an OK should be fired.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    If IMG is selling a program that has similar content to that is found in the student paper, I can understand it. If you are IMG, you've guaranteed the school $X million a year. If you want to make money on the deal you have to eliminate the competition for game info.
    I'm still hoping SI looks into these deals. I wouldn't be surprised if the schools are making peanuts on the deal compared to what IMG is taking home.
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Member

    Avoiding this situation would require an athletic department that operates like it's part of a university. Most don't.
  10. zonazonazona

    zonazonazona New Member

    And why is that? In the real world, Why would the athletic department -- which as PaulS notes is likely, from a financial standpoint, only has an indirect connection to the university, has -- care about the whereabouts of the newspaper?
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    College sports programs pay lip service to actual school part of an institution. The athletic departments are just "pro" franchises who really don't care about what the academic side of the school thinks of them. All they care about is getting the college president to sign off on big coaching contracts and to cheerlead for new facilities.

    Is there any reason an athletic department should give a whiff about a student newspaper?
  12. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    I'm as pro-business a guy you will find, and I think this deal is total bullshit. You are selling out your tuition-paying students for some fat contract. Anytime UK confesses their love for all things academic or student body, they should have this stuck back in their face.

    Tuition has been skyrocketing for years, and it isn't going to professors or students. It's going to administrators who treat public colleges like corporations and not institutions of learning.

    I'd love to hear UK explain how this IMG deal is "good for students," because I'm sure they have that bullshit excuse typed up somewhere.
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