Heisman sets deadline, threatens voters who don't hide ballots

The Heisman Trust condemned voters who revealed their votes prior to the official Heisman announcement. (Getty Images)

The Heisman Trophy Trust has given voters who it says violated a “nondisclosure requirement” in 2012 until April 8 to commit to hiding their ballots in the future.

In a letter dated March 4, Heisman president William Dockery wrote: “We are distressed to have been made aware that your 2012 vote was revealed publicly prior to the December 8th announcement.” Dockery said it's “against our policy” to release ballot selections prior to the official announcement on ESPN.

Multiple voters, including media members and former winners, discuss their ballot publicly before the voting deadline each year. StiffArmTrophy.com obtained at least portions of 205 ballots in projecting Johnny Manziel as the winner in 2012. 

The Trust has never enforced a nondisclosure policy until sending initial correspondence to voters in August. The policy was typically listed on the paper ballot before being listed in an electronic ballot via email in recent years.

Dockery contends 95 percent of electors hid their votes last season and adhered to the “non-disclosure requirement”. Approximately 50 warning letters were sent out among the 928 persons who voted in 2012, according to a spokesman.

“In the event you are unable to assure non-disclosure of your vote in the future, we will be required to reassign your vote to another member of the college football media,” Dockery wrote.

Included in the letter, at least for writers, is a copy of their stories revealing selections before the Dec. 3, 2012, deadline. There is no mention how TV or radio hosts on-air comments were verified if they were found to have violated the policy.

In the letter, Dockery asks for a commitment to hide the ballot “in writing” by April 8. Even then, the letter states regional and state representatives “will take your explanation into consideration when determining the 2013 electorate."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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