Tyler L. Charles

The end result of the thoughts running through my head!

RAW Recap May 6th: “Once, Daniel Bryan blew in her ear and she said ‘Thanks for the fill!'”

The two weeks following WrestleMania on RAW proved that the WWE was capable of producing some great quality content. Since then, RAW has felt pretty slow; this week no better.

John Cena came out to start the night and, right on cue, reminded everyone that he will most definitely defending his title at Extreme Rules again Ryback. While I must compliment Cena on his one liners, Ryback came out and opened his mouth to ruin the whole thing.

I do like the idea of Ryback. He’s a physical specimen that can have a lot of success in the WWE, but he can’t work the mic to save his life. The anti-hero turn hasn’t been terrible, but less talking would easily make him a more complex character.

The championship will be decided in a Last Man Standing match, so you know the wrestling will be good.

On to the matches…


Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Didn’t really matter who won, because both guys are looking strong going into Extreme Rules. While there are some moments you question what just happened in the ring, for the most part these two are top performers and they bring out the best in one another. Dolph Ziggler is the future of this company, so a loss to Del Rio here shouldn’t hurt his chances at retaining the title in the triple threat Ladder Match.

Jack Swagger has become stale. His feud with Del Rio had a lot of pop at the beginning, but most of that is gone now that neither man holds the title. Zeb Coulter has done well to make Swagger a heat magnet, but he’s carrying the persona. Perhaps a reboot is in order for Swagger after Extreme Rules.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder

Maybe it’s because I’m a homer for Cesaro, but it was nice to actually see him come out and show why he was the United States Champion for months on end. No yodeling, no talking. Just power and skill. You have to feel bad for the Broski because he is constantly buried and jobs to everyone, but Cesaro truly has a better future at this point, and kudos to creative for allowing Cesaro to do his thing on the mic after the match and challenge the entire locker room. I hope he gets a nice push from here on out.

R-Truth vs. Fandango

Not so much for the wrestling, but more for Fandango’s great save by leaving the match early and refusing to finish. He refused to lose clean to Truth (and probably shouldn’t since it would ruin any momentum he has right now), and when things got tough he jumped ship.

I love Fandango. A part of me feels like the WWE pushed too hard to capitalize on “Fandangoing” and already has made it another commercialized cog in the machine. It was so organic in New Jersey with that crowd on RAW. There was no need to blow it up the way the company did. Let the fans grow something on their own without Michael Cole telling them how cool it is.

Props to Chris Jericho for his segment earlier in the show about Fandango, too. Those two need to be in a real, no-holds-barred feud.

The Bella Twins

Enough said. They alone make me want to watch Divas matches, so don’t screw up what works, WWE.


Pretty much everything else.

I know, the WWE has to make sure everything is good for the kiddies, but the rest of this show was flat out boring. I’m surprised I actually made it from beginning to end without falling asleep or turning it off, because there wasn’t much else to watch. I’m OK with Kaitlyn’s “secret admirer” segment because she’s awesome and Divas need to have that every once in a while. But for the love of God, Khali has no business ever speaking on live television again. If I’m supposed to laugh hysterically when he tries to develop coherent sentences, then BRAVO WWE! Otherwise, save us all.

The Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman segment, combined with all of the previews and recaps, probably took up about an hour of the show. WHY. You could have used some of that time to develop the tag team division, since The Shield will be taking over and there’s not a single team out there capable of beating them, ever. What happened to the momentum following Team Hell No’s victory?

Once again, Wade Barrett had to job to a main event guy, despite holding a title and being capable of owning a main event himself. He does well and you expect that Barrett could beat Sheamus on any given night, but you can’t consciously believe he’s going to win when Sheamus is getting the push into the PPV. I really don’t think it makes Sheamus look any weaker to lose to the Intercontinental Champion. But it does make the WWE look too predictable.


While there were great moments, there is just so much to be desired. Extreme Rules is shaping up to be a decent show, but I think there is a lot of room to allow the mid-card and tag team divisions to grow while also building the top guys towards their PPV matches. A CM Punk appearance of any kind would have brought this grade up, because with him taking a hiatus, the product has lacked.

Let’s hope next week can improve from Monday night.





Bracket bustin’ Bobcats look to strike once again

As the No. 2 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament this weekend, the Ohio Bobcats will look to claim their third tournament title in four years, just a week after claiming the schools first regular season championship since 1993-94.

Until last week, it looked as if Ohio (23-8, 14-2) was second fiddle to Akron (24-6, 14-2), who dominated the Bobcats at “The JAR” and stole an overtime victory in Athens just two weeks ago. However, the marijuana trafficking arrest of Akron standout point guard Alex Abreu lead to his indefinite suspension and buckled the tournament expectations of the Zips.

Ohio will be hungry to take advantage of the opportunity, and defend their No. 1 ranking in the MAC Report Online’s final power rankings.

A few things must happen, first.

DJ Cooper must lead his team.

Sure, the presumptive MAC Player of the Year has been a statistical monster in his four years on Richland Avenue, but now is not the time to let someone else steal the spotlight. The first team All-MAC guard is averaging 14.2 points and 7.2 assists this season, but he needs to show no mercy in Friday night’s semi-final game. When Coop goes cold, so does Ohio. He went 3-12 in a 50-49 loss to Winthrop earlier in the season, and 1-8 from the field and 1-7 from three-point land in the Brackbuster against Belmont.

Establish the Coop-Keely connection.

Senior big man Reggie Keely is shooting a stellar 62 percent from the field this season, and the University Heights native has grown into a confident inside presence for the Bobcats. Should the Bobcats face Akron in the championship, he’s going to have to stand up to first team All-MAC center Zeke Marshall, who is averaging an unruly 3.6 blocks this season. Confidence will be the key for Keely, who has double digit points in 21 games. He seems to be cooling off at the wrong time, but look for Cooper to get his big man involved early, especially if the shots aren’t falling from outside.

Jon Smith and Stevie Taylor must provide the spark.

Arguably the teams two hottest players right now, both Smith and Taylor need to maintain their high energy throughout the tournament. What Stevie gives up in size, he makes up for with quick hands on defense and an unwavering will to pull the team out of the thicket. With Ohio trailing Miami deep into the second half and the Redhawks smelling the upset, Taylor went into overdrive and nabbed three steals and put in eight points in a season high 16 minutes off the bench. Not to mention, he drilled the game-winning three against Kent State in one of the most thrilling finishes in recent memory.

Jon Smith had a memorable day against Miami as well, tallying nine points and 10 rebounds to go along with two blocks. Smith is fantastic on the defensive end, where his athleticism allows him to dominate the boards and keep the little guys from driving the lane and getting off a layup. While he may struggle offensively, Ohio will need him to crash the boards hard and hold down the paint to be successful. Despite his hilarious amount of missed tip-ins against Miami, it’s those second, third, even fourth opportunities he provides that will be a key to success.

Ivo Baltic needs to find Doc Brown’s DeLorean.

Coming into his final season, Baltic was expected to dominate the MAC and contend for Player of the Year honors. Instead, the senior forward has only managed 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Last year, Baltic made an effort to establish a presence in the paint and even showed off some impressive low block moves, but he has virtually abandoned that in favor of a more European big-man approach in 2012-13. It would be fine if he was making shots, but Baltic has only eclipsed 10 points three times in MAC play, and hasn’t been to the free-throw line since he went 0-3 at Central Michigan on February 13 (The last time he made a free throw? January 19)

It’s obvious that Baltic’s confidence has been rattled this year, but this is the perfect opportunity for him to shake it off and reestablish his inside game. He has the post moves, he just needs to use them. The Bobcats’ offense consists primarily of finding the open shooter outside, but that lends itself to shooting slumps and Ivo can provide a boost with his mid-range game when things are getting tough outside.

Nick Kellogg needs a lucky break.

There’s nothing he can really do about it, but guard Nick Kellogg needs a blessing from above this week. The usually accurate three-point sniper is shooting a career low 33 percent from beyond the arc. He is getting wide open looks every game, but the shots just aren’t falling. The key here is to keep shooting, and when he’s missing, shoot some more. Kellogg is a maker and simply put, he’s slumping. You can expect Nick to work on his shot all week, and should he find his stroke this weekend, Ohio will be well on it’s way to returning to the NCAA tournament.

Ohio is built for the tournament, as it is far and away the most experienced team in the field. Should the Bobcats play to their abilities and address some of the concerns that have plagued them this season, they should be able to cut down the nets on Saturday night.

Interning with the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce

Been a while, but here’s some of the work I’ve been doing with the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce this summer:

  • The Hilliard Business Monthly is a Chamber-sponsored publication that appears in ThisWeek Hilliard once a month.  I am responsible for writing and editing the content, apart from the business spotlights and the “Chair’s Perspective” segment.
  • The Monday Minute Spotlight is a weekly series the Chamber sponsors that focuses on highlighting a different member business every week.  I am responsible for filming and editing the videos.  The only equipment I use is a Flip camera and Final Cut Pro.

Taste of Hilliard & Business Expo

The tastiest summer event in Hilliard is making a comeback this year, and it will be even bigger than last year.

The Taste of Hilliard & Business Expo, organized by the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, will feature over 70 area businesses and restaurants and provides the citizens of Hilliard the opportunity to interact with, and sample, the many businesses and restaurants Hilliard has to offer. This year, the event will take place on August 10th, from 4:30 to 7:30.

The restaurants try to earn the love of the judges, who sample all of the food items available and award one restaurant as the winner of Best Appetizer, Best Entree, and Best Dessert.  Last year, Salvi’s Bistro, Heritage Golf Club, and Schmidt’s won these categories respectively, earning the crown of “Best in Hilliard” for the year.

For just $10, guests are able to sample every single restaurant offering at the Expo, and receive one complimentary raffle ticket for the countless door prizes that are offered by Hilliard businesses.  Cash bars are available in both rooms of the expo, with a full lineup of mixed drinks, beers, liquor, and soda to satisfy any craving.

The Makoy Center is located at the end of Center Street in downtown Old Hilliard.  Lifelong Hilliard residents will recognize the Burgundy Room as the former roller skating rink, which has since been purchased and refurbished by the Makoy Center for use as a banquet hall.  Younger Hilliard residents have probably spent their after-prom hours here, as it hosts a variety of post-prom events for Hilliard students.

For more information on the Taste of Hilliard & Business Expo event, visit the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce website or call the Chamber office at (614) 876-7666.

Streich strikes out seven, ‘Cats capture victory at home

ATHENS, OH—Thunderstorms were in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, but that didn’t stop Seth Streich from creating some lightning of his own.

Led by his powerful pitching performance, Ohio (25-26, 9-15) shut out Mid-American Conference rival Akron (14-35, 6-18) 1-0, and pushed ahead in the race for the postseason.

Streich (2-6) scored seven strikeouts and allowed five hits in a pitching gem, despite throwing nearly 300 pitches in his last two games.  He didn’t let that bother him though.

“When I’m throwing, it doesn’t matter how high my pitch count is.  I just go out there and be the bulldog, like coach has been preaching to us this year. My fastball was on, and that helped me stay on top of the hitters.”

Fortunately for the Bobcats, their starter stood strong when an offensive stalemate was almost certain after the early innings.

Both teams stranded six runners, but it was Bryan Barnes who broke the deadlock with a solo bomb that disappeared in the distance behind the right field wall.  While Ohio has struggled to score runs, coach Joe Carbone was pleased with Sunday’s effort.

“We’ve certainly squandered a lot of chances this year, but it’s a great group of guys, and they play hard.  Seth kept them in the game today, and we got the win.”

Despite the high pitch count, and the Zips threatening to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners on the corners, Streich remained in the game, and triumphantly striked out the last batter to end the series.

“Before we went out for the ninth inning, coach asked me if I wanted it,” said Streich.   “When I told him yes, there was no question that I was going to finish the game.”

The last out was a fitting end to a week that saw Ohio inch closer to a berth in the MAC tournament.  The Bobcats will take on arch rival Miami (OH) (31-21, 17-7) starting Thursday night in Bob Wren Stadium.

“Coach Wren used to say, ‘If you’re playing for something on the last weekend of the season, you did something right the whole season’,” Carbone said.  “I’m glad they’re going to have an opportunity to play for something next weekend.”

Case Law Study on Collegiate Athletes, the Press, and the First Amendment

The following is a case law paper that I completed for my Communication Law class at Ohio University.  Gracious thanks to Scripps professor Aimee Edmondson for her guidance during my research.  

With the invention of the Internet, reporting on sports has expanded far beyond newspapers and magazines and onto the Web.  Blogs first began appearing in the late 1990s, and changed the way news organizations presented the news to its readers.  In 2003, Myspace was created, followed by Facebook in 2004, and Twitter in 2006.  All of these sites fall under the social media category, which has risen in cultural significance during the new millennium.   Social media is a defining aspect of the adolescent and young adult generation of Americans.

Since these developments are rather recent and groundbreaking, the governing entities of sports leagues, specifically the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) must adapt to the changing landscape of how journalists and athletes operate these new technologies.  While there have been no cases in the United States federal court system that directly confront the First Amendment conflicts the technologies have created, there has been groundwork laid in the circuit courts, the Supreme Court as well as First Amendment debate that may guide us in determining what stance the Supreme Court would take should such a case present itself to the court.

To set the stage, we can review one instance in which First Amendment rights and copyright law were brought into question.  In June 2007, Brian Bennett, a sportswriter for the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal, was stripped of his media credentials and ejected at an NCAA super regional game between the University of Louisville and Oklahoma State University for live blogging during the game.  The ejection set off a firestorm of debate as to whether blogging from an athletic event is allowable under the First Amendment.

According to Courier-Journal executive editor Bennie L. Ivory, “It’s clearly a First Amendment issue.  This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers…” He went on to accuse the NCAA of “extortion and thuggery” when he learned that representatives from the University of Louisville told Courier-Journal staff members that “if the school did not revoke Bennett’s credential it would jeopardize the school’s chances of hosting a future NCAA baseball event.” (Bozich)

Jon Fleischaker, the attorney for the Courier-Journal, laid down the conflict at hand. “It’s a real question that we’re being deprived of our right to report within the First Amendment from a public facility…The blog wasn’t a simulcast or a recreation of the game. It was an analysis.” (Kenney)  It is important to note that when Bennett was granted his media credentials, there were no restrictions related to blogging in the credential, and he never agreed to such stipulations beforehand.

The Courier-Journal did not file suit, and the NCAA loosened its rules on blogging following the negative publicity it received. They now allow the score and time remaining in an athletic contest to be transmitted via blog, but the question still stands: how will blogs and social media stand up against copyright lawsuits from the leagues that have contracts with big-time broadcast companies?  Can new social media restrictions by the NCAA and other high-profile sports leagues pass First Amendment scrutiny?

The Bennett case comes down to whether or not his blog posts were in violation of the copyright held by ESPN to broadcast the game live to its audience.  The courts have defined blogs as a form of speech, and the First Amendment protects most speech. We can also call blogs “pamphleteers,” which are protected as a part of the press. (Kenney)

In the Bennett case, the NCAA was correct in stating that ESPN had exclusive rights to broadcast the games, and they indeed have the copyrights to the broadcast of the game.  This is where the two sides differ in opinion.  In an interview with the New York Times, Scott Bearby, then the associate general counsel for the NCAA, said that the conflict “doesn’t really have a First Amendment angle to it” and that the NCAA is absolutely right in wanting to defend its contracts with its broadcast partners.  “It’s a logical extension of the rights that have been around for years and years,” Bearby added.  Bearby also said that the NCAA has the right to revoke press credentials from any organization that violates these rules, even if another employee of the company that is not credentialed blogs from the stands, or from their couch at home.

The Federal Copyright Act entitles rights holders to a “limited monopoly” over their work.  The only stipulation is that the material produced must be copyrightable material, and the alleged copies of this material must be “substantially similar” to the original.  (Federal Copyright Act of 1976)  In Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. (1991), the Supreme Court declared that originality is a necessary element of a copyrightable work.

“No one may claim originality as to facts . . . . This is because facts do not owe their origin to an act of authorship. The distinction is one between creation and discovery: The first person to find and report a particular fact has not created the fact; he or she has merely discovered its existence . . . . [Thus,] [t]he same is true of all facts – scientific, historical, biographical, and news of the day. “[T]hey may not be copyrighted and are part of the public domain available to every person.” (Feist v. Rural Telephone Service Co.)

This ruling directly relates to whether or not sporting events can be copyrighted.  Following this precedent, we can conclude that the actions that occur during a sporting event are factual, and not creative in the manner that ESPN could argue in the Bennett case.  In Baltimore Orioles, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Players Association (1986), the MLBPA tried to argue that players do, in fact, have creative power over the outcomes of the game.  The Seventh Circuit ruled that while “players’ performances” contain the “modest creativity required for copyright ability…the players agree that the cameramen and director contribute creative labor to the telecasts.” (Baltimore Orioles v. MLBPA)  In summary, the creativity of a sporting event does not stem from the actions of the players and coaches, but primarily from the producers of the broadcast.

To further solidify this precedent set by the courts, the Second Circuit ruled on National Basketball Association v. Motorola in 1997In this case, the NBA sued Motorola for violation of copyright law because Motorola had been compiling statistics from NBA games and transmitting it via pager to its customers across the country.  The court ruled that because the pager “reproduce[d] only factual information culled from the broadcasts and none of the copyrightable expression of the games, [the pager] did not infringe the copyright of the broadcasts.” (NBA v. Motorola)  Therefore, the FACTS OF A GAME are not copyrightable under the Federal Copyright Act.

However, it can be determined that sports BROADCASTS are indeed copyrightable under the Federal Copyright Act, according to Keeney.

“‘The bill seeks to resolve…the status of live broadcasts [of] sports, news coverage, live performances of music, etc.—that are reaching the public in unfixed form but that are simultaneously being recorded.’ Therefore, ‘[i]f the program content is transmitted live to the public while being recorded at the same time’ it is copyrightable.  Sports broadcasts, therefore, are copyrightable.” (Kenney)

According to the case law above, we can certify that the game itself is not copyrightable, but the broadcast and retransmission of the game is itself copyrightable.  In order to determine if Bennett would have a case against a copyright infringement lawsuit, we must also decide if his blog is “substantially similar” to the broadcast of the game he is covering.  The blog itself is not an infringement, since it contains game facts.  But, ESPN could use a “commercial misappropriation” tort and say that since it has broadcast rights, it has the right to control the information that is distributed via broadcast.  ESPN could argue that Bennett was infringing upon its ability to make a profit, and doing so at the expense of ESPN.

In the Bennett case, however, the tort does not apply because 1) the Courier-Journal is not free-riding on ESPN and has to pay some expenses in order to gather the information at the game (Bennett is a paid member of the writing staff) and 2) the Courier-Journal is not in direct competition with ESPN.  The newspaper must send a writer to the game, pay his expenses while he is there, and pay for the website on which Bennett is posting.  There is no free-riding in this circumstance, nor is there a direct competition with ESPN, because the online blog is not a broadcast of the game, rather a collection of information and game facts that are not copyrightable.

Adding all of this together, we can reasonably conclude that if there were a court case in which ESPN sued the Courier-Journal­ for copyright infringement, the court would rule in favor of the Courier-Journal.  Bennett was not violating ESPN’s copyright to broadcast the game because he was reporting facts from the game, and he did not violate the “hot news” tort because as soon as the facts of the game were broadcast to the public, they were a part of the public domain.

The Restriction of the First Amendment Rights of Student Athletes  

While the media has continuously faced what seem to be unconstitutional restrictions at NCAA athletic events, student athletes are still facing restrictions on social media use from member institutions within the NCAA.  For the 2010 football season, the football programs at Boise State University, Indiana University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Miami, have all implemented social media restrictions on their players, at the behest of the head coach, the university, or both. (Robinson)

Thus far, there have been no specific rules created by the NCAA pertaining to the use of these sites, except in the instance of recruiting.  With recruiting, the NCAA has chosen to include social media in its “electronically transmitted correspondence” category.  Coaches can only contact recruits through the private message feature of Facebook and Myspace, and only during pre-determined windows of time.

Individual institutions have issued most of the limits that have been placed on athletes to this point.  Private institutions are exempt from this, because they are not funded by the state.  Therefore, institutions such as the University of Miami and the University of Notre Dame can impose as many restrictions on social media as they desire.  The question is whether or not this is a violation of the players’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech at PUBLIC universities.

The basis of this argument resides in two different Supreme Court cases: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) and Healy v. James (1972).  According to Tinker, high school students do not lose their rights when they enter the school building, unless there is a “substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities.” (Tinker v. DesMoines)

In Healy, a group of students petitioned the Student Affairs Committee at Central Connecticut State College to allow the creation of a collegiate chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.  When the president of the university rejected their petition, the Supreme Court intervened and said that the college could not deny the students the same rights it had afforded to other similar groups on campus.  In Healy, the “substantial disruption” claim is not a sufficient reason to preemptively limit the speech of certain groups on campus.

These cases also had an influence in four other Supreme Court decisions that involved high school athletes and their right to free speech.  In Lowery v. Euverard (2008), four high school football players were dismissed from their team after creating and signing a petition that denounced the defendant, then the head coach of the football team, for his coaching methods.  The players were given the option of apologizing for the petition, and when they did not, they were removed from the team.  The Sixth Circuit found that since the athletes did not have grievances that warranted an investigation into the coaches’ methodology, they did not have the right to freely express their opinion about the coach without receiving consequences.

In Wildman Wildman v. Marshalltown School District (2001), a high school basketball player wrote a letter that criticized her coach for not playing his best junior varsity players on the varsity team, despite his promise to do so at the beginning of the season.  When the coach asked her to apologize to her teammates, she refused, and he removed her from the team for the rest of the season.  The Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the defendant.

“It is well within the parameters of school officials’ authority to prohibit the public expression of vulgar and offensive comments and to teach civility and sensitivity in the expression of opinions…since the school was trying to create, an educational environment conducive to learning team unity and sportsmanship and free from disruptions and distractions that could hurt or stray the cohesiveness of the team.”  (Wildman Wildman v. Marshalltown)

These two cases prove that while students do have First Amendment rights whilst on- and off-campus, these rights are not absolute.  The schools have an interest to create an environment conducive to positive learning, and to protect sports teams from unnecessary disruption.  Athletes that create speech that is not defended by Tinker are susceptible to punishment from their educational institutions.

On the other hand, the courts have ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two other similar cases. In Pinard v. Clatskanie School District (2006), all but one member of a high school varsity basketball team signed a petition that asked for the removal of their head coach because of “derogatory remarks” made towards players, and the general discomfort the team felt while playing for the coach.

The team was given the option of participating in a mediation session at a later time and playing in their away game that night, or to not board the bus for the game.   The team was not told whether or not they would be punished for choosing not to play that evening.  When all but one player chose not to play, they were permanently suspended from the team.

The court found that the language of the petition “was protected speech because that speech could not reasonably have led school officials to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with a school activity.” (Pinard v. Clatskanie School District)

In other words, the players’ speech was not directly tied to a threat to disrupt a school activity, such as refusing to participate in a basketball game.  Their decision to not board the bus, however, was considered direct interference with a school activity, and was not protected by the First Amendment according to the court.  This decision proves that if there is a legitimate safety concern on behalf of the players, their speech is protected.

Another similar case was Seamons v. Snow (1996), in which a high school football player was removed from the team for refusing to apologize for complaining about an incident of hazing in the locker room.  The plaintiff was hazed by four of his teammates in the locker room following football practice, and he reported it to the proper authorities soon after.

After meeting with all of the players involved and the plaintiff, the coach decided that it was in the player’s best interest to apologize to him and the four other players responsible for the hazing for reporting the incident to the school.  The court ruled that because the student was reporting an incident of physical and mental harm, he should not have been expected to apologize for doing the right thing.  Therefore, his removal from the team was unwarranted because he did not intentionally disrupt a school function.  It should be noted in this case that the plaintiff never intentionally left the football team, he was removed by the coach.

Combining the Rulings

With these four different rulings, we can reasonably conclude that when an athlete at a public institution expresses his or her DISSATISFACTION with a coach, the institution has the right to reprimand the athlete.  However, when an athlete reports SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS against a coach, the First Amendment protects them.

In general, the court seems to deny prior restraint of athletes with the intention of preventing an incident from occurring, and this is directly related to the Healy case  Public institutions will have to handle and penalize each “disruption of a school activity” that occurs on Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace on an individual basis, much like in the cases discussed.  At public institutions of higher learning, it violates the First Amendment rights of the student athletes to preemptively remove their social media privileges.

It appears that if a student athlete would take a public institution currently banning social media to court for violation of their First Amendment rights, they would be successful in winning the case.  As long as they are not guilty of the disruption rule, their use of social media use is protected by the First Amendment.  Tinker and Healy provide a firm foundation for this ruling, with the four cases involving high school athletes providing more definition to the free speech rights of athletes at pubic institutions.

In general, the NCAA has been misguided in its restrictions of social media use at athletic events, and has misinterpreted the protections that copyright law provides.  In a suit between a media outlet and the NCAA regarding the use of blogging and social media at an athletic event, the court should lean towards ruling in the favor of the media outlet.  While the organization incorrectly handled the Bennett situation, the NCAA has taken the stance that restriction on social media, other than for the purposes of recruiting, are non-existent.

Whether it intended to leave personal social media use out of its bylaws, the organization has taken a Constitutionally sound stance on social media to this point.  The NCAA, in order to improve First Amendment compliance within its membership, should actively encourage its members to remove social media restrictions and educate the athletes about their rights according to the First Amendment.

Works Cited

Baltimore Orioles, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Players Ass’n, 805 F.2d 663 (7th Cir. 1986) (full-text), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 941 (1987).

Bozich, Rich. “Courier-Journal reporter ejected from U of L game.” Courier-Journal 11 Jun 2007, Print.

Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972)

Copyright Act of 1976, Pub. L. 94-553 (Oct. 19, 1976)

Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991)

Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, (1972)

Kenney, Christian. ” Kentucky Fried Blog: How the Recent Ejection of a Blogger from the College World Series Raises Novel Questions About the First Amendment, Intellectual Property, and the Intersection of Law and Technology in the 21st Centur.” Selected Works of Christian Keeney, Villanova University Law School. (2008): 85-112. Print.

Lapointe, Joe. “Blogger’s Ejection May Mean Suit For N.C.A.A..” New York Times 14 Jun 2007: Baseball. Print.

Lewis, Dannika. “No Updates from the Bench, Stands or… Press Box?: The Legality of Live Blogging from Sports Events.” Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 1.2 (2010): 87-96. Web. 1 Apr 2011.

Lowery v. Euverard, 129 S. Ct. 159 – Supreme Court (2008)

National Basketball Ass’n v. Motorola, Inc., 105 F.3d 841, 41 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1585 (2d Cir. 1997)

NCAA Division 1 Bylaw,, and 13.10.2

Pinard v. Clatskanie School Dist. 6J, 467 F. 3d 755 – Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit (2006)

Robinson, Eric. “Intentional Grounding: Can Public Colleges Limit Athletes’ Tweets?.” Citizen Media Law Project. Berkman Center for Internet and Society, 09 Nov 2010. Web. 23 Apr 2011.

Seamons v. Snow, 84 F. 3d 1226 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit (1996)

Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969)

Wildman v. Marshalltown School Dist., 249 F. 3d 768 – Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit (2001)

J470 Sportswriting: Carlson vs. Gundy

The following is my reactions and thoughts to a class conversation we had with Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman.  In 2007, Carlson wrote a column criticizing Oklahoma St. quarterback Bobby Reid.  Oklahoma St. head coach Mike Gundy erupted into a tirade in the press conference following OSU’s win the next Saturday.  The original column can be found here.  The video of the press conference can be found here.  

The conversation that we had with Jenni Carlson was quite informative because it addressed a few issues that came up during her run in with coach Mike Gundy that I had never thought about before.

I had never considered that Gundy’s blow-up during the post-game press conference might have happened only because Carlson is a woman.  I found it interesting as well to learn that our class seemed pretty split about whether or not he would have done the same thing to a male reporter.

Personally, I think it had a big influence in the situation because you have to consider where the incident occurred:  the South.  I can’t honestly say that the same thing would have happened to a man, not in the manner that Gundy blew up at Carlson.

As far as her column is concerned, I still don’t think it was a strong column, nor do I think it was a smart column.  Even though she said that the beat writers had tipped her off about the player’s mother feeding him chicken, I would never consider putting that into a column.  Why bring that into the picture?  I understand criticizing a player, and I understand that players have to have a thick skin and be able to stand up to the criticism.  But nothing good or constructive can come from embarrassing a young guy in the media.

Mike Gundy is the biggest failure to Bobby Reid though.  Along with Carlson, his instincts on this issue seemed to be wrong as well.  He probably thought he was helping the situation, but by causing such an intense uproar he all but guaranteed ESPN airtime later that evening.  If you’re trying to protect your player, don’t mention him television, especially without even being asked about it.

In general, this whole situation just seems like giant mess:  an average column, an overdramatic coach, and an emotional football player.  This was almost a perfect storm of drama, and we happened to catch all of it on film.

J470 Sportswriting: A New’s Battle Approaching?

The following is my response to a class conversation with Gregg Bell, the director of writing at the University of Washington.  He is a professional journalist who was hired by Washington to write original content on their athletics website.

On Wednesday, we heard from Gregg Bell, the director of writing at the University of Washington.  Most of the conversation revolved around the changing media landscape within the NCAA, and how it will evolve in the next couple of years.

Personally, I don’t see a problem with professional journalists being hired by athletic departments to control the information that the university puts out regarding their athletic teams.  Some consider it selling out, but in a world where jobs are hard to come by, and the changing landscape prevents new jobs from being formed, these jobs suddenly become quite attractive.  While a position like this is not particularly “true journalism,” it melds journalism and public relations into one position.

What’s interesting to me is that while longtime journalists and sportswriters might consider this “selling out,” I think our new generation of journalists find these jobs attractive because they allow great freedom to write as many stories as you want, and you are allowed full access to everything within the athletic department.

Not to mention, if Ohio came calling and wanted me to be a part of their writing/PR team for athletics, as a graduate, I would not turn them down.  Someone mentioned in class last week that this job is probably more suited for the passionate sports fan that experiences undying love for a team.  I would most certainly love the career that allowed me to talk about Ohio Bobcats sports for five, ten, fifteen years.

It really comes down to the preference of the individual, and I don’t think it makes the profession any less remarkable because it isn’t true journalism, according to some experts.  To touch on the Cuban blog, Cuban has every right to deny journalists to his locker room, because he owns it.  He also has every right to start his own writing division within his organization.  Will this make journalists job a little tougher and change the way they do their job?

Absolutely.  But in the democracy we live in, he has every right to do that.  It’s up to the people, and his consumers, to decide whether or not his message will resonate.  The people have a choice to consume the media they desire.  In this changing time, it will be up to the newspapers and television stations to decide if they will try to pursue the same stories that the teams are putting out or pursue the stories they are hiding.

J470 Sportswriting: Final Four Broadcasting and Paying NCAA Athletes

The following is my response to the prompt “What did you think of the broadcasting work done for the Final Four?”  The response also includes opinion on whether or not NCAA athletes should be paid.  It was completed in a response format, not in any journalistic form.  All opinions are my own.

While I specifically did not get to watch the Final Four or the National Championship game due to work commitments, I did watch enough of the tournament to get an idea of how the media works during the tournament.  This year marked the first year that TNT, as well as TBS aired games during the tournament.

My first praise actually goes to the choice to air games on TNT and TBS.  The commentary crew with Marv Albert and Charles Barkley was actually my favorite throughout the tournament.  Despite being NBA analysts, they brought a refreshing approach to the coverage.  Many people do not like the attitude that Barkley brings to the broadcast, especially when he starts talking about athletes and whether or not they should be paid for their efforts.  However, I feel that this brings a contrasting view to the broadcast and offers at least a strong voice to go against the vast majority of commentators that tend to only talk about the negatives that paying a player causes.

I have had varying opinions on whether or not athletes should be paid since I’ve started my college career, but I think I’ve finally settled on a side of the argument that makes the most sense to me.  I do believe that all collegiate athletes should receive a per diem for daily living expenses.  If the NCAA is going to place so many restrictions on their athletes, like limiting the amount of hours they can work at a job, or denying them the ability to make money of their image, then they should at least allow the university to give per diems to the athletes for compensation for the work they do for the university.

As a member of the Marching 110, I put in a similar amount of time each fall representing the university in uniform as many of my fellow athletes on campus, and yet I probably get more compensation than some of the football or basketball players on campus.  I know that our marching band is different, and one of the biggest attractions at the university, but we don’t have the restrictions on us like the athletes do.

How can you ask an athlete who comes from poverty to just accept that he has to frugally live the next four years while he wears a collegiate uniform just because the NCAA says that it is wrong to make money as a student-athlete?  The debate about whether or not these athletes are actually student-athletes is for another time, but using this moniker to justify not paying them, while big time programs are making millions of dollars off them is ridiculous.

Ultimately, despite my opinion, I don’t think its necessary to extensively discuss the issue during live broadcasts of the NCAA tournament.  It is newsworthy, and it is important, but not during this event.  There are so many stories the commentators can cover during the tournament (underdogs, upset wins, Cinderella runs) that aren’t as distracting from the game at hand.  I do believe there is a time and a place however.  Put it on Sportscenter, PTI, Around the Horn, any other show other than a live-broadcast of the biggest sporting event of the year (Biased opinion, right there).

Hockey on the Hocking: The Video

Here is my video on the Ohio Bobcats hockey team.  Enjoy!

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