Legal Updates: NCAA sports credentialing; SGI and open access

By on March 5, 2013

Earlier this month, ONA joined with a number of journalism organizations to express disappointment with recent actions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that affect coverage of their member institutions. ONA Board President Jim Brady attended a meeting with NCAA officials and representatives of five other national media groups March 4 to discuss issues raised in our Feb. 13 letter to the group. NCAA agreed to the following:

  • The NCAA will set up a call with our organizations after the upcoming basketball tournament to discuss the establishment of a permanent working group to address outstanding media issues.
  • The NCAA will include media groups in future discussions with the Division I men’s basketball committee regarding the seating of working journalists at the tournament.
  • Editors will be invited to upcoming meetings with the NCAA and conference officials and have the opportunity to introduce discussion on injury reporting standards.
  • NCAA officials said there would be no numerical restrictions on social media posting during its tournament events.
  • NCAA officials will contact the Pac-12 Conference to inform the league that there is no longer a policy limiting by number live tweets during college basketball or football games.
  • The NCAA said there would be no change to existing policies on photo positions at the basketball tournament.

Representing the media organizations were: Tim Franklin, co-chair of ASNE’s FOI Committee; Gerry Ahern, president of APSE; John Cherwa, chair of APSE’s Legal Affairs Committee; David Bralow, counsel for NAA; Kevin Goldberg, counsel for ASNE; Sonny Albarado, president of SPJ; Jim Brady, president of ONA; and Mike Borland, president of NPPA.

Representing the NCAA were: Bob Williams, vice president of ommunications; Erik Christianson, managing director of external affairs, and Scott Bearby, general counsel.

Other Legal Affairs Committee updates:

The Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which ONA is a supporting member, continues to advocate for open access on behalf of our members. Recent SGI activity includes:

  • Supporting the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which sent a bipartisan letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) asking pointed questions about agency backlogs, delays in responding to FOIA requests, and the Justice Department’s efforts to encourage agency compliance with FOIA. The purpose of the letter was to get OIP on record with specific commitments, however the deadline for OIP to respond, Feb. 22, was missed. SGI will provide an update when OIP responds.
  • To elevate interest in FOIA issues generally and draw attention to “FOIAonline” (the so-called FOIA Portal), SGI research analyst Chris Green is heading up an effort to encourage people to contact agencies and ask if the agency plans to move the FOIAonline system. Read about the calls, and follow the efforts on Twitter at #FOIAsurvey.
  • SGI’s Rick Blum appeared on Fox News regarding White House transparency after the White House press corps complained about the lack of access to President Obama during a long golfing weekend. Blum noted several ways the administration’s stated commitment to transparency has limits.

Read more about ONA’s Legal Affairs Committee work on behalf of our members.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.