UPDATE, NOV. 13 3:30 P.M.: We followed up on this story and asked several schools up and down the west coast about their live coverage policies. Read more here.
It looks like college coaches aren’t the only ones restricting Twitter use. Todd Dybas, a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, Tweeted yesterday that he was “reprimanded” by the University of Washington Athletic Department for apparently Tweeting too much during Sunday’s 85-63 win over Loyola.
Also, tonight I was reprimanded by the University of Washington for tweeting too much during a live event.
— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) November 12, 2012
The UW does indeed have a “Live Coverage Policy” that limits reporters to 20 total in-game updates for basketball games and 45 for football games:
We reached out to the athletic department but the UW folks declined to comment, only saying that the policy was implemented prior to the 2012-’13 athletic competition year.
Here’s some of the reaction on Twitter:
Though the policy has been in effect for a few months, it’s getting some attention now because they’ve actually enforced it. The policy states that the department may revoke a credential if the media member is “producing a real-time description of the contest.”
Seattle University men’s basketball coach Cameron Dollar, a former UW assistant, Tweeted this to Dybas:
@todd_dybas you are welcome to Tweet away at KeyArena! Come on over to the land of no restrictions…Haha
— Cameron Dollar (@Coach_Dollar) November 12, 2012
By my count, Dybas sent out 53 individual Tweets from tipoff until the final buzzer. A lot of those were simple Tweets like “Wilcox 3,” or “What touch!” that, according to the policy, would count toward the 20 in-game updates.
A little disclaimer: I covered UW sports for four years while a writer for The UW Daily. We loved using Twitter as a way to provide real-time coverage for readers who weren’t watching on television or listening on the radio. I understand that the UW wants to drive fans to the school’s own live coverage and protect its product, but to threaten the loss of credentials because of “excessive” Tweeting seems a little odd.
So, readers, what do you guys think? Do you understand what the UW is doing, or is this an example of exerting too much social media power?
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: Just spoke with Jordan Moore, director of social media for USC. He says that the Trojans have had a similar policy in place for the past three seasons that keeps media from providing play-by-play updates. But they have not had issues with it and have yet to reprimand any reporter for over-Tweeting. Keep in mind that USC is a private school.
“I think just generally speaking is what we’re trying to do is steer people toward partnerships we have with radio, television and our own web presence,” Moore said. “We don’t want people taken way from that experience.”
UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: Just got off the phone with Craig Pintens, who heads the marketing and public relations for the University of Oregon. He says the school has no live coverage policy and doesn’t have any plans to implement one in the future.
Previously on GeekWire: Washington State football bans players from Twitter