[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RupparenaK.JPG”]
University of Kentucky Athletics has made a controversial decision, rescinding The Kernel, a student newspaper, access to student-athlete interviews.DeWayne Peevy, UK’s associate athletic director, says the paper violated policy when editor Aaron Smith placed phone calls to rumoured Wildcat walk-ons and requested interviews.
Smith’s decision defies an unwritten rule barring media from interviewing athletes before first contacting UK’s public relations team.
The athletic program’s decision calls the First Amendment into question. Is Kentucky unfairly limiting The Kernel’s access to report the news?
Jon L. Fleischaker, a Louisville attorney, believes UK’s actions were inappropriate.
“The very fact that they don’t like the way you’re exercising your First Amendment rights does not give them the right to deprive you of an opportunity you would otherwise have,” Fleischaker said.
Peevy views it differently, saying, “If you see it that way, it’s fine.”
UK Athletics sees Tuesday’s one-on-one player interview session as a reward, because information from these interviews cannot be used until October 1st. And, therefore, this privilege can be revoked.
No official announcement had been made regarding the status of potential walk-ons, Brian Long and Sam Malone, at the time Smith placed his calls. He was merely following up on a lead after freshman Anthony Davis tweeted the news.
This wouldn’t be the first time the athletic program has commented on limiting public access to journalists. CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish wrote a story in July saying Davis’ recruitment may face questions. Peevy tweeted in response: “I guess we now know one media seat that will be available at Rupp this year. BBN don’t give them what they want, your clicks! #WeAreUK.”
No decision has been made yet by Kernel editors to pursue legal action.