|Slow down on tweeting or step out of Washington's press box. (Getty Images)|
We've all heard of schools banning players from Twitter, and while it might not seem like a fair rule to the players, it's easy to understand the reasoning behind it. What's not as easy to understand, though, is why a school would want to limit the amount of tweets a reporter can make during a game.
Which is what Washington is doing.
This is a tweet from Todd Dybas, a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, who was covering Washington's basketball game against Loyola on Sunday.
Also, tonight I was reprimanded by the University of Washington for tweeting too much during a live event.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) November 12, 2012
As it turns out, Washington has a Twitter hard cap for members of the media. Those covering a football game are allowed 45 tweets per game. For basketball, that number drops to 20. Here's the school's "Live Coverage Policy" that was implemented before the 2012-13 school year.
Credential Holders (including television, Internet, new media, and print publications) are not permitted to promote or produce in any form a “real-time” description of the event. Real-time is defined by the NCAA as a continuous play-by-play account or live, extended live/real-time statistics, or detailed description of an event. Live-video/digital images or live audio are not permitted. Each of the aforementioned descriptions is exclusive to the official athletic website of the host institution (GoHuskies.com), the official athletic website of the visiting institution, and any designee of the UW department of athletics. Periodic updates of scores, statistics or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the event are acceptable, as long as they do not exceed the recommended frequency (20 total in-game updates for basketball, 45 total in-game updates for football). Credential Holder agrees that the determination of whether an outlet is posting a real-time description shall be in UW's sole discretion. If UW deems that a Credential Holder is producing a real-time description of the contest, UW reserves all actions against Credential Holder, including but not limited to the revocation of the credential.
UW and its designated personnel shall be the final authority on whether a Credential Holder or Credential Entity is following the Live Coverage Policy.
Geekwire.com asked Washington for comment on its policy, but the school would say nothing besides that it was implemented before the year. And that makes sense because there's really no reason that the school can give that would make any sense.
There is no real reason to limit the amount of tweets that a reporter can make from a live sporting event. If the thought process is people won't watch or attend the games because they can follow along on Twitter instead, well, what else can you do but laugh at that kind of thinking?
If television hasn't killed off attendance at sporting events, I'm not sure there's anything that will.
There has never been a sporting event I decided not to watch because I could just follow along on Twitter. In fact, there aren't many things more annoying on Twitter than a reporter tweeting play-by-play of a game. On the other side of that coin, though, there have been many games that I wouldn't normally find myself watching that I only turned on because of Twitter.
The descriptions of the games were my motivation to tune in and see what was going on for myself.