Athletic departments are too touchy about Twitter.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach recently banned his players from Twitter. If he sees one peep posted they’ll be kicked off the team.
Now the University of Washington has warned a local sports writer he’s been tweeting too much.
The University of Washington football and basketball beat writer for the Tacoma News Tribune was just doing his job one tweet at a time.
He was tweeting too much according to the UW’s live coverage policy for credentialed media.
The Tribune’s Todd Dybas posted about 80 tweets about Sunday’s basketball game before he wrote: “I was reprimanded by the University of Washington for tweeting too much during a live event.”
Seattle University’s head men’s basketball coach posted a message for the reporter. Coach Cameron Dollar tweeting: “You are welcome to Tweet away at KeyArena! Come on over to the land of no restrictions.”
The UW’s policy states, “Periodic updates of scores, statistics or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the event are acceptable, as long as they do not exceed the recommended frequency.
What is excessive? By their definition, Dybas was over the top. The UW policy allows 20 total in-game updates for basketball and 45 total in-game updates for football.
Dybas was providing a service for those who want to follow UW basketball, but couldn’t go to the game. I doubt his tweeting was hurting ticket sales.
While there are limits on reporters, fans may repeatedly tweet.
Many universities have in-season social network bans for players, so WSU’s Leach isn’t alone in restricting his players from Twitter. A few have rules for reporters.
Most professional sports leagues only ban tweeting while games are being played and for a period of time before and after games.
Good thing, or we’d miss sweet tweets like this from Russell Wilson: “Wow! I am so blessed to be a Hawk! Man I love this Seahawks team and this city!!!”
Twitter and Facebook postings are protected by the First Amendment, so it’s difficult to ban athletes from social media completely.
By LINDA THOMAS