Want to cover Urban Meyer? Drop that Twitter!
Even when he was coaching the University of Utah Utes football team, it's hard to imagine people here hanging on to every word coming from the mouth of Urban Meyer.
At his current gig, coaching the Buckeyes of Ohio State, public relations officials there are trying to ensure reporters pay close attention to everything Meyer says by banning the use of Twitter during press conferences.
This new ban, introduced at Monday's first weekly press conference of the season, met with an angry column by Jason Lloyd, who covers the Buckeyes for the Akron Beacon-Journal:
"On the surface, it seems petty. But Ohio State officials have no legal standing to prevent reporters from sharing information that is given in a public setting. Nor do they have the authority to dictate when that information can be disseminated. Whether or not that was the intent, this reeks of a power-hungry program flexing a little muscle in a rare area where they don't have any and searching for control in areas out of their domain."
Lloyd talked to media-relations people after the first press conference, and came away with a couple of excuses for the Twitter ban: "The reasoning ranged from the success they had banning Twitter during some closed practices over the summer to how reporters can't really listen to the news conference if they're constantly tweeting what Meyer is saying."
Lloyd (who tweets here) points out that Meyer's press conferences are broadcast live over the radio and carried on the OSU website, and there's nothing presenting anyone listening from tweeting every drop of the coach's brilliance.
(According to Tribune sports editor Joe Baird, no such Twitter ban exists for press conferences for current Utes coach Kyle Whittingham or Brigham Young University's Bronco Mendenhall. Both ban Twitter from closed practices a rather common rule and BYU limits use of the social-media network during games to five tweets per quarter, presumably to keep from competing with KSL's radio play-by-play.)
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