Social Media
Nov 13, 2012

University Of Washington Implements Twitter Restrictions And Limits For Game Coverage

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University of Washington basketball

A slightly strange yet urgent report from Deadspin details the University of Washington’s recent Twitter restrictions policy for media members covering games.

Apparently, the University of Washington is forcing Twitter restrictions on real-time tweeting during basketball and football game coverage, and there doesn’t appear to be a very persuasive reason for doing so. The university failed to warn media members of this policy, and skipped straight to punishing Tacoma News Tribune writer Todd Dybas when he violated the new Twitter restrictions policy on Sunday during the Huskies’ men’s basketball opener against Loyola.

Dybas, puzzled by the Twitter restrictions/cap at the University of Washington, has been investigating the policy since Sunday. He found that the policy “recommends” 20 total in-game updates for basketball and 45 for football. The policy was also apparently implemented before the start of the football season. Other universities Dybas reached out to do have various rules regarding Twitter coverage of sport events, but most seem far more relaxed, with Oregon State University telling Dybas simply to “tweet away.”

You can read all about the University of Washington’s Twitter policy here.

Seems a bit Nazi-ish to me. I can sympathize with UW wanting some degree of coverage control over their sporting events. Let’s face it, you want people to want to come to your games. However, UW risks destroying broader engagement on a national scale with these Twitter restrictions. Further, the language in their policy suggesting that university officials reserve absolute power to reject certain tweets and live updates, up to and including the termination of press credentials for those in violation, risks alienation of both media members (who are their biggest cheerleaders and “free” promotional workers) as well as their team fanbases (who want these real-time updates all over the nation).

The onus is on the University of Washington to provide a reasoned defense for this policy. We’ll be reaching out to university officials for an interview regarding the issue. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The University of Washington responded to us. That report is now here.