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Post SEC takes strange, sudden interest in media coverage of camps

Friday June 12, 2009

Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com reports on a new SEC ruling “that will no longer permit media or scouting services to attend summer sports camps.” The NCAA is expected “in the near future” to “issue an interpretation dealing with NCAA Bylaw 13.10.5 and the concept of the media taking pictures of and/or filming PSAs at institutional camps,” according to SEC Associate Commissioner for Compliance Greg Sankey. Sankey continues,

“An institution has an obligation to preclude the presence of media (including scouting services) at its institutional camps for the purpose of writing stories, filming and/or taking pictures of PSAs, as those actions are contrary to bylaw 13.10.5. This would include the aforementioned activities taking place from a location that is open to the general public and on any occasion, regardless of whether the institution invited the media to attend.

…we advise you to immediately notify media outlets they are not permitted to be present at institutional camps. Otherwise, media activity around camps may result in a rules violation and penalties that could limit recruiting opportunities with involved prospects.”

At first glance, this ruling might just appear to be aimed at recruiting services and their notoriously zealous coverage. But stepping back, why would the SEC in particular care to be proactive about keeping the media away from on-campus events where coaches and prospects mingle? After all, the NCAA hasn’t even finalized its interpretation yet. Sankey’s statement concludes,

“While this is a “mid-course correction” to application of Bylaw 13.10.5, keep in mind that camps were never intended to be promotional and/or publicity opportunities related to prospective student-athletes. Camps are intended to be instructional opportunities. However, it has become clear that media activity around camps has overshadowed the camps’ purpose, which is the reason for this modification.”

It’s odd: it’s not as if any SEC schools have been in the news recently for trouble related to media coverage of contact between prospects and coaches.

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