Every college football program has different PR policies and relationships with reporters covering the team. Some programs are much more open and gracious with access than others. Again, every school is different.
Texas is heading into its first season under head coach Tom Herman — an obvious step up from his previous job at Houston. And one of the first changes in fall practices at Texas will be focused on how the media does its job. On Wednesday, Texas released a new media policy restricting the use of social media during interviews and dictating where the media is allowed to stand.
The policy read:
Going forward, our policy for media attending post-practice availabilities will be that social media posts will not be permitted during those sessions. Any social media entry should come after the conclusion of all post-practice media interviews have concluded. Our hope is that you would take time to review your post and re-listen to increase accuracy and insure the necessary context in each of your social media reports. We hope this will not only allow everyone more time to craft those commentaries/reports, but also allow necessary time to absorb full context. It also will be beneficial in providing fill attention for follow-up questions or the next line of questioning during the actual interviews. Thank you in advance for adhering to this new policy.
Also, to follow up on a concern that came up during today’s post-practice availability. Please do not stand behind Coach Herman or the players during the availabilities. The ropes are in place as a guide to avoid that and to allow the subject to address the group. To assist you and with your recording devices, we will add a table for you to place those on going forward.
While Texas’ desire for accurate reporting is certainly valid (it’s the goal of every reporter covering the team), it’s unusual for a program to try to dictate how a journalist can do his or her job. It’s one thing to decide on availability, but it’s another thing to lecture reporters on social media conduct, claiming that it’s all about benefiting journalists. Reporters have editors for that. And sure, there’s no specific context around what sparked this social-media policy, but during Wednesday’s media session with Herman, we can see reporters standing behind the head coach being asked to move.
It happened around the 4:30 mark in this video.
Herman’s somewhat adversarial relationship with the media dates back to his days with Houston. Last year, he called into a radio show to blast a host and demanded accountability from the media in a statement that eerily echoed this new policy at Texas.
Texas is giving Herman full control of his program, and dealing with the media comes with being the head coach of Texas. But this is an odd battle to go with in August. Some reporters are already hitting back at Texas for the policy shift.
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