Whoever came up with this Southeastern Conference policy is nuts

election2008.jpg

The SEC adopts Ahmadinejad
social media policy.

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Southeastern Conference has sent its 12 schools (including my across-the-street neighbor, Vanderbilt) a new media policy that, in effect, bans fans from posting Facebook updates, Twitter tweets, photos on Flickr, video on YouTube while in the stands.

I’ve re-read the article a couple of times thinking it’s impossible that I’m reading the correctly. But, yes, that’s what it says.

According to the article:

“A league spokesman said this policy was meant to try to keep as many eyeballs as possible on ESPN and CBS — which are paying the SEC $3 billion for the broadcast rights to the league’s games over the next 15 years — and also on the SEC Digital Network — the league’s own entity that’s scheduled to debut on SECSports.com.”

I then looked at the calendar, and no, it’s not April 1.

So, there’s only one conclusion: Like the Associated Press, the SEC is nuts.

Without going into all of the obvious reasons why Tweeting and photo-sharing benefit ESPN and the SEC, I’ll list just a few off-the-top-of-my-head reasons this policy is nuts, along with some questions that have me scratching my head:

1. Except for Vanderbilt, all of these schools are state-run, tax supported institutions. They aren’t NFL teams owned by private individuals.

2. Every SEC stadium, except for Vanderbilt’s, has been financed by tax-payers.

3. Every SEC university has a law school with professors who would love to test this policy.

4. The role of a university should not be to criminalize its students for loving their team enough to share it with the world.

5. Does ESPN (and its owners, Walt Disney (80%) and Hearst (20%)) really want to ban college students and fans from using Twitter at football games to, uh, get people to tune in? Has the SEC even asked ESPN?

6. Do the President’s of SEC schools really want to tell their students, alumni and sports contributors that free speech ends at the gates of the stadium?

Bonus: Jack Lail: The SEC is out of its league.

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  • That is a great picture!

  • Umm wow. This makes me want to get season tix again solely for the purpose of tweeting from the stands.

  • Becky Yates

    So are the Twitter/Facebook police going to going into the stands stopping people from Tweeting, posting status updates, sending pix from their phones? this is nuts. Good luck with this one, SEC.

  • Hudge

    “6. Do the President’s of SEC schools really want to tell their students, alumni and sports contributors that free speech ends at the gates of the stadium?”

    A pox on the SEC, NCAA, TSSAA and all their ilk. Like medieval philosophers, they’re still splitting ever finer hairs while hoping much larger and perniciously persistent issues about “amateur” sports will go away.

    It’s enforceable only if (1) the SEC detonates an electromagnetic pulse that fries all the electronics in the stadium and for some distance around (presumably that $3 billion would pay for hardened, protected TV production equipment) or (2) they greatly increase the security staff to scan the crowd for twittivity or hell, just forcibly eject anyone with a phone in hand.