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College Sports, Division I

NCAA Division I Educational Column: Recruiting — Electronic Transmissions — Microblogs

On April 26, 2012, the NCAA released an educational column discussing the use of “microblogs” by athletics coaches and staff members. Specifically, the column noted, “it is permissible for an institution’s website or an athletics department staff member’s personal website (or personal page on any site) to include information related to the institution’s athletics program, subject to the restrictions applicable to an institution’s athletics website.”

Types of Permissible Information

  • game scores
  • team updates
  • facility updates
  • generic updates regarding the coaching staff and/or team to the extent they do not mention a specific prospect

Types of Permissible “Microblogs”

  • website posts
  • blogs
  • microblogs (example: Twitter)

This educational column referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.4.1.2 (electronic transmissions), 13.4.1.2.1 (exception — electronic transmissions after National Letter of Intent signing or other written commitment), 13.4.1.2.2 (exception — electronic transmissions after receipt of room or tuition deposit), 13.10.2 (comments before signing), 13.10.5 (prospective student-athlete’s visit), and 13.10.8 (photograph of prospective student-athlete); Division I Proposal No. 2011-99; official interpretation (3/14/07, Item No. 2) and official interpretation (7/11/07, Item No. 1).

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance: a) include this educational column in the next scheduled rules-education session for the athletics staff and coaches; and b) review current policies and procedures regarding the use of “microblogs.”

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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