Are national reporters violating University of Kentucky Media Policy in the Nerlens Noel fiasco?

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First and foremost, Nerlens Noel is currently attending the University of Kentucky as a student athlete.  And once he arrived on campus, certain rules apply as to when and how he can be contacted for an interview.  It is my understanding that once a player signs a LOI of intent, they can not be called or contacted by the press directly and have to abide by the rules of the UK Athletics Association and more specifically the UK Media Relations which state that all media requests for an inteview go through them and that reporters are not allowed to randomly call a student athlete and get his input on a story.

I made a quick call to the Media Relations department today just to confirm the rule and was told once again that all player interview requests are to go through this department and must be approved in advance.  In my conversation, we talked about a player like Noel and the fact that reporters may have his phone number as  a recruit and may have called him in the past for a recruiting story.  While UK really has no control over what happens as a HS student, once a student is enrolled at UK, the rules change and that a reporter is not allowed to call an athlete, even if there was a prior relationship.

If we recall, this issue popped up last year when a couple of reporters from the Kentucky Kernel called UK walkons Brian Long and Sam Malone and asked for confirmation of a story.  That then was a violation of the UK Media Relations rules and the reporters were dis-invited from a press event.  The reporters were college students which caused a huge uproar as to whether this was a “First Amendment” story but it did provide an opportunity to clarify the UK stance on reporters contacting students:

"After learning Monday that a Kernel sportswriter had called two students rumored to be walk-ons this fall on the men’s basketball team, DeWayne Peevy, UK’s associate athletics director for media relations, rescinded an invitation to the reporter for a series of interviews with the team on Tuesday. The reporter broke what Peevy called the university’s unwritten policy barring media from interviewing student-athletes without first going through UK’s media relations department. Peevy clarified his statement Tuesday to note that the university indeed has a written policy about interviews that’s included in media guides, but the policy does not require media members to sign it. A portion of the policy reads that “all interviews with University of Kentucky basketball players or staff members must be arranged through the Media Relations office. Media should never contact a player or coach directly.”"

Point, blank, Period.  You can look around, but I doubt there is any college media department that are going to be OK with national reporters randomly calling their athletes.  The rules are set in place to protect the students, yet they are being trampled on on a daily basis across the country.  Simply put, this rule is not unique to any University or college.  Media requests and reaction have to go through the media department and it can not be like the wild, wild West.  Reporters should not be calling college athletes.

Yet it happens.

The big question is if Kentucky or other schools will do anything to further enforce these rules and to make a stand.  OR will they allow the privacy and rights to be trampled on as they are harassed by reporters looking to break a story?

The rules are not in the fine print, people.  Even bloggers like myself know the rules and abide by them.

Isn’t it time the national media and journalists are held to the same standards as bloggers?