The SEC controls the means of production

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) controls the means of production. And don’t you forget it!

Or you’ll get your credentials yanked.

If you care about football, then you can only get your information from the officially approved outlets! TASS, Izvestia and Pravda meet ESPN, CBS and XOS Technologies.

If you care about football, then this is bad for independent coverage of the SEC product. In case you missed it (and I know I’m late commenting on it), news broke Friday that the SEC would restrict the use of video obtained by reporters. Tidesports.com provided excellent coverage of the event. These quotes were worth mentioning:
“From my perspective, in having been in the online industry for 10 years, it’s over the top and bordering on ridiculous,” said Chris Rattey, new media director for The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com. “It’s almost as if the SEC is monopolizing the content, and business is really getting in the way of journalism.”

“We believe that the new policy is an arbitrary attempt to limit independent news reporting on SEC sporting events and ultimately to restrict the coverage that SEC fans have long enjoyed and have every right to expect as supporters of SEC teams and taxpayers financing SEC institutions,” said David McCraw, vice president and assistant general counsel for the New York Times Co., owner of the The Tuscaloosa News.

And from Cecil Hurt: “That doesn’t affect what print reporters, or bloggers, do — yet. But it is part of a continuing trend of restrictions and limitations on legitimate news outlets who seek to cover SEC football for everyone from loyal fans to general-interest readers to the taxpayers who are footing the bill at 11 of the 12 SEC institutions. Soon, ‘press conferences’ may fall under the same restrictions, at which point they stop being “press conferences” and become something else — performance art, perhaps, but not valid interchanges. Before long, the only news that fans will get will be strictly the news that institutions want them to get.”

These are serious issues that threaten what little independent reporting and commentary that is available to fans.

When the SEC wasn’t a billion dollar business, schools and the conference encouraged coverage. Now that the conference has experienced a windfall, the pesky media trying to earn a profit should get out of the way. It is a phenomena happening in high school football too. With the success of Hoover High School and other big programs, schools are trying to wring every last dollar out of the program. Football has become a cash cow. And like any big business run by an oligarchy, the oligarchy controls the means of production—in this case access to the raw product of SEC football—and if you want to share in the bounty, you better not stray too far from the party line. Or expect a press box purge.