Techdirt today points us to a controversy that’s been brewing over in the world of college sports that involves the Southeastern Conference (SEC) trying to put the kibosh on social media during games. Essentially the college sports division doesn’t want fans Twittering, Flickring, Facebooking, blogging, vlogging, YouTubing (s GOOG) or doing anything in real time about games that could jeopardize its lucrative contracts with the TV networks.
The SEC is the first to implement such strict guidelines when it comes to social media. The St. Petersburg Times has an excellent round-up of the situation, which includes the language that says ticketed fans can’t:
“…produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event. …”
As you’d imagine, these rules would be almost impossible to enforce in a stadium of 90,000 screaming (streaming?) fans. And the rules have gotten bloggers and fans in a lather. So much so that the SEC is reviewing them. Notably, a spokesperson told the Charlotte Observer that for the org, “The main concern is videos.”
Fans already have the ability live-stream themselves providing commentary from the stands, or even shooting the action — though mobile video cameras leave much to be desired right now. But the quality of video captured will only improve over the next few years, which is why the SEC is trying to clamp down on the technology now.
The SEC should look to rival conference the Big Ten, which is embracing social media tools by producing content users can easily share online in addition to connecting fans to relevant Twitter and Facebook accounts.