Monday, November 14, 2011

NCAA Wants Your Tweets

A note from a colleague, somewhat in shock, that the NCAA was actively pinging members to give up lists of their student-athlete Twitter accounts. The concern was that wasn't the NCAA's business.

I concur, but not for the reasons my SID friend had.

It's not the NCAA's business because, not unlike the Olympics in Beijing, you don't own the point of view of individual student-athletes and you shouldn't be promoting them and trying to augment your own traffic with them.

I shudder at the next step by the NCAA, which in the past has been extraordinarily restrictive and protective of their "events". By the way, the only folks more restrictive is the BCS, but that's another story for another day.

Now, knowing some of the thought leadership in the NCAA's digital media wing, I doubt they would head down that road. That's not to say others might not, however in the name of "rights holding", it is possible (anyone price an internet [and back in the day phone] connection from the men's basketball tournament regional or Final Four).

Let's circle back to the original point. Anyone who doesn't already actively monitor and know who is a "real" Twitter feed among an institution's athlete base is courting disaster. I know many still don't, or they continue to turn their heads away. The NCAA request should get right in your face and remind you, whether you think so or not, people are watching and your student-athletes are creating your branding.


Chris Syme said...

Just an FYI, Bill. It wasn't the NCAA asking for Twitter names, it was ESPN. They used the NCAA acronym in the subject line.

Bill Smith said...

Ah, then that changes some - but not all - of the points. It makes them worse. Never, ever forget what ESPN stands for: the ENTERTAINMENT and Sports Television Network. It is all about the "E" when the world wide leader comes to town, and what's more fun than picking off 18-year-olds one by one for interesting post game sound bites or sideline shots when they are at their best/worst emotional moments? Checking out their personal lives by hovering over their Tweets.

ESPN or NCAA, I am still amazed that neither group has made the IOC move of saying their copyrights extend to the "performers".

Bill Smith said...

Kinda adds another creepy factor - some PA in the cubical farm in Bristol with a call sheet. Hi, I'm Misty, and I'm calling from ESPN. We need your press guide and could you fill out this easy to search when we need to get comments from your student-athletes during your Penn State moments Excel spreadsheet?