Ky. university, newspaper reach compromise on stadium distribution

KENTUCKY — The Kentucky Kernel came to a compromise onSaturday with University of Kentucky officials over distribution at CommonwealthStadium.

Under the agreement, the Kernel is allowed three boxes near thestadium where two Kernel staffers per box can pass out copies until twohours before each home footballgame.

“We are happy that we are at least given that compromise but still, we arenot allowed to be wherever we want on the stadium grounds and it still doesn’tdo anything for any other publication or people who want to make a statement inthe area,” Kernel editor Matt Murray said.

Prior to the Saturday homecoming football game, the Kernel wasbanned from distributing the paper before football games due to an exclusiveadvertising and marketing contract with IMG College. Last week, Kernelstaffers told the Student Press Law Center they had been distributing at gamesfor years without any issue from the school or IMG.

Murray said UK spokesman Jay Blanton called the Kernel for a meetingfour hours before the game on Saturday, at which time the agreement was made.

In a Monday interview, Blanton said the main issue was crowd control andstreamlining the university publication policy. In an interview last week,Blanton said the main concern was the contract with IMG.

“The university’s concern all along was being able to maintain a reasonablepolicy for how publications are distributed on the campus,” Blanton said. “Wehave concerns about the fact that because IMG has exclusivity for media andbroadcast rights with respect to athletics and that having the Kernel inand around in the crowd would cause a potential safety problem.”

SPLC attorney Mike Hiestand said the school’s policy could raiseconstitutional issues.

“I don’t think [the reasons given on Saturday] are valid concerns to beraised at this point,” Hiestand said. “If [Kernel staffers] think thisallows them to reasonably get their message out and they are happy with it, thenit is a fair compromise. However if they think it impedes their ability to getthe paper out to the people that want it then they would have grounds tochallenge it.”

Murray said the Kernel is looking at the IMG contract closely beforescheduling another meeting with the school.