University of Kentucky bans student sports reporter from media event over ‘unauthorized’ interviews

Lexington Herald-Leader | Kentucky Kernel
Kentucky Kernel managing editor and basketball writer Aaron Smith called two University of Kentucky students rumored to be basketball team walk-ons and asked them to confirm the reports. They did and Smith reported the news on Monday, prompting University of Kentucky’s sports media relations department to ban the reporter from today’s meet-the-team event. The university says Smith broke the athletic department’s unwritten policy barring media from interviewing student-athletes without first going through media relations department.

The decision to ban the writer “is so clearly a violation of First Amendment rights for the university to condition access on gathering or publishing information the way the university wants you to do it,” says Kentucky First Amendment lawyer Jon Fleischaker. || Read reactions to the university’s move.

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  • Karl Idsvoog

    Great work student journalist – you’re acting like a reporter, not a cheerleader.   Way to go.

    Listen to sports commentator Bruce Hooley describe how sports “reporting” of college athletics has changed.
    The mainstream media reporters apparently don’t run into the problem faced by the student journalist because apparently the “professional” local reporters just do what they’re told.

    When journalism fails, bad things happen. 

  • Karl Idsvoog

    Why don’t the sports pages and sportscasts let their readers and viewers know how the university controls who is able to speak.   Listen to sports commentator Bruce Hooley describe how sports “reporting” has changed.

  • Anonymous

    I’m disappointed at all the people, journalists included, who are trying to parse the policy. The policy is the problem. Remember, UK is the ORIGINAL “death penalty” school on NCAA violations, going back to 1951. This has been a program rife with problems for more than a half century. Just ask Sam Bowie. Oh, wait, if you had asked him about the money he received as a recruit without going through the UK flak, you’d get your credential pulled.
    Rip the lid off and let the sunshine in. The boosters won’t like it, but citizens should.

  • Anonymous

    since the student reporter did not know whether the two were on the basketball team but was only checking out a rumor, the athletics dept’s reaction is unjustified and unwarrented. was there some reason why athletics had not  identified these two players as walk-ons? the circumstances would seem to create a loophole that would not justify the atheltics department’s retribution.

  • Rod Paul

    Gimme a break! If the Athletic Dept. has such a policy, the fault lies with the players who talked, not with the reporter doing his job.

    Military folks are regularly advised not to speak to the media without talking to PAO first; but no one blames the reporter who gets someone to talk about something.

  • Robert.R.Cathey

    In the past, has the UK Athletic Department denied access to professional journalists for violating this policy?

    If I recall correctly, public relations and sports information departments at other Division I schools have similar policies.