Should the University Of Kentucky’s $80 media and marketing deal with IMG eliminate the distribution of the school’s newspaper at Wildcats football games? Prior to yesterday’s upset of South Carolina, that seemed to be the case according to the Kentucky Kernel’s Patrick Sullivan :
On Sept. 18, UK Athletics officials stopped eight Kernel advertising staff members who came to the stadium™s parking lot before the game against Akron to distribute issues of the free student publication, Kernel Student Advertising Manager Sarah Geegan said.
After originally stopping the advertising staffers”seven of whom were students”for operating an improperly marked golf cart, officials caught up with the group as it passed out newspapers in a recreational vehicle area and asked Geegan and the advertising team to stop distributing the publication. Officials said a contract with IMG College, a sports marketing firm, prohibits the Kernel and other publications from handing out papers on Commonwealth Stadium grounds, Geegan said.
Officials advised the Kernel to contact UK Athletics Marketing, Promotions and Licensing to gain permission. Geegan said the advertising staff called multiple times, but never got a response.
Geegan said the Kernel advertising staff has handed out nearly 2,000 newspapers before every home football game for 10 years without interference from UK. For UK™s Oct. 9 home game against Auburn, the staff passed out papers on streets and lots surrounding the stadium property, Geegan said.
Kernel Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray said he believes UK™s actions are unconstitutional.
œIt™s a clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Murray said. œNo amount of money should be able to buy away anyone™s constitutional freedoms.
Sunday’s Lexington Courier-Journal reports the University has since agreed to allow the Kernel to be made available via a vendor and/or rack on stadium premises, but the ban on parking lot distribution remains intact.