In this, the year of Twitter's explosion and Facebook's ascendancy, it's inevitable that everywhere we look, old institutions are going to be struggling to figure out how to deal with new media. Professional and big-time college sports are no exception, as numerous sports organizations are trying, with mixed results, to implement some kind of social-media policy.
The policies seem to be fueled by a number of different concerns. Today we'll look at three recent attempts to address social media use, and tomorrow we will examine why restrictive social media policies in the sports world are doomed to failure.
The SEC wants to be hip to social media (see the prominent links on the SEC homepage
to its Twitter and Facebook pages), but stumbled badly this month when it informed its member universities of its planned social media policy. Fresh off signing a new and lucrative deal for CBS to broadcast its football games, the conference aimed to protect CBS' rights by declaring
, according to Mashable, that ticketed fans could not "produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any
material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to,
any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other
information concerning the Event."
Translation: no tweets, blog entries, Flickr photos, or YouTube video of football games. Taken literally, this policy might actually forbid fans from even talking about the game with friends.
The SEC backed off the next day
, emphasizing that non-commercial descriptions of games by fans would be fine, as long as they did not act as a substitute for radio, television, or video coverage. Still, it took a real pounding in the blogosphere for the conference to change its mind.
Did you know that pro tennis (comprised of the men's and women's pro tours, the International Tennis Federation, and the Grand Slam Committee) has a Tennis Integrity Unit