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NDSU President: Texts supporting Bison media restrictions 'not appropriate'

FARGO – North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani says he initially supported new media restrictions on covering Bison athletics because he thought they were common in collegiate sports.

In an email to NDSU employees sent Monday, Aug. 8, Bresciani explained why he initially approved the restrictions and then later rescinded his support for it.

Bresciani also said in the email that some of his text messages on the matter “were not appropriate.” The messages came to light after Forum Communications columnist Rob Port made a public records request and wrote about them in a column last week.

The guidelines, announced in late July, would have limited the access of media outlets that did not have contracts to broadcast football and basketball games. For instance, one of the guidelines said outlets without contracts would not be allowed to broadcast or stream online live, regularly scheduled news conferences.

Through a bidding process, KVLY-TV won the football contract, Midco Sports Network won the basketball contract and Radio FM Media won the radio contract. The Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum, took part in the bidding, but did not win a contract.

Bresciani said he wasn’t consulted on the media guidelines before they were announced. He said he became aware of the guidelines after “the explosive reaction on social media.”

“Initially, it was my understanding that: (a) the guidelines had been part of the bid process so that all the local media companies understood that these were going to be implemented; and (b) the new guidelines were fairly common across the country,” he wrote. “I now understand that my initial support was misplaced and some of my text communications were not appropriate.”

Check back later for an update on this developing story.