Another Apology, Another Delay: UW and CBS No Closer to Addressing Accessibility of CBS Sports College Sports All Access

Queue the broken record theme and maestro, hit it!


Earlier I wrote about my hope to see improved accessibility from CBS College Sports All Access. As of that writing I was told the accessibility fixes were expected on November 30. That day came and went with no update.


I received a brief update today from the people I’ve been exchanging e-mail with at the University of Wisconsin about the accessibility issues.


What’s that you say? You’ve read this before. Yeah, that’s about how I felt when I received the latest update from contacts at the University of Wisconsin. I had been promised that accessibility issues with a streaming media site for Badger athletics would be corrected by the end of November. This was by my count at least the fifth promised deadline for such fixes to be missed, dating back to September.


I no longer have any meaningful date for improved accessibility beyond a promise to “hold CBS’s feet to the fire,” and to involve UW legal folks if there is no progress by the end of the year. Consider me confused because one would think UW legal officials were involved when any contract establishing the relationship between CBS and the UW was signed. One would think the dozens of other universities using this service would also be calling for accessibility fixes.


As I’ve said earlier, I will give the UW and CBS some credit for making arrangements for me to get access to the streaming links for broadcasts of interest. Basically at this point I e-mail some contacts at CBS prior to the start of a broadcast and I’m provided a direct link that launches the media stream. I will also say that the UW has not yet charged me the equivalent fees for the online service, although I’ve made it clear I’m willing to pay the appropriate fees.


Still, this policy is not documented anyplace on the site or CBS site. Further, meaningful accessibility should mean I and others get access to the full functionality of the web site in question without having to ask each time. For example I have no access to archived broadcasts which I believe is made available on the main site.


It is my contention that as a public institution, the UW and any other publicly funded institution is required by the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehab Act to make services accessible. This is my personal opinion and I’m not a lawyer. Still if you are trying to access online broadcasts of a similar institution and are having difficulty due to the accessibility issues with the All Access site, I’d encourage you to make your concerns known to the appropriate people at the institution in question.


As a graduate of the University of Wisconsin I am disappointed in the level of accessibility and attention this issue has received. The UW may not be responsible for developments from CBS, but the UW is certainly responsible for the accessibility of the resources they choose to use, no matter who creates those resources.


As a Badger fan who enjoys the entertainment college athletics offer, I am saddened to have the experience soured by this lingering accessibility issue that is no closer to resolution some three months after I first brought it to the UW’s attention.