Teach your children well

10/9/2012: Posted yesterday on the UO athletic department’s GoDucks.com website:

There is misinformation about the University of Oregon Athletic Department’s interview policy for student-athletes, coaches and administrators. To provide clarity to this long-standing policy, all interview requests are to be arranged through the Athletic Communications office. 

The practice, which is the same at all Pac-12 member institutions, is in place to help manage the interview process for individuals. Student-athletes face the unique challenge of balancing extremely busy schedules involving class, studying, practice, training room and competition. Student-athlete welfare is paramount, and that includes eliminating potentially intrusive situations. 

If contacted by a media member unaware of the policy or in blatant disregard for the policy, student-athletes and athletic department personnel are instructed to contact the Athletic Communications office to properly schedule the interview. In no way does the policy require student-athletes or department personnel to refrain from sharing their views or opinions on a topic.

It’s all about protecting the athletes from excessive talking. Orwell would love that last sentence – it doesn’t require they keep quiet, it just makes it really fucking clear that the AD will know what they say and that there may be consequences. I’d interview some “student-athletes” what they think of having big brother Craig Pintens looking over their shoulder, but … .

From what I can tell Rob Mullens and his crew felt the need to re-iterate this policy after the recent public meeting on random duck drug testing, where the lone athlete present refused to speak with Register Guard reporter Diane Dietz:

University of Oregon tennis player Lena Macomson listened intently Wednesday at a sparsely attended public hearing on the university’s new policy to require drug tests on a random basis from student athletes. 

And though she appeared to be the only athlete in the room — and so the only one potentially subject to the proposed requirement to give a urine sample — she didn’t take the floor to testify as to how she felt about the matter. 

Macomson said afterward that she could not speak to a reporter without first getting the permission of Andy McNamara, assistant athletic director for media relations.

Dietz got one player to speak later on the phone, obviously he caught hell for it. I wonder who tells Craig and Andy what they can say to whom?

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7 Responses to Teach your children well

  1. Anonymous says:

    So student-athletes do not have academic freedom?

    Student-athletes are students with no academic freedom and athletes with no pay – time for a new Prefontaine at UO…

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  2. Anas clypeata says:

    Where the hell are Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain and George Orwell when we need them, to write something wonderful and pitch-perfect about student-athletes, and freedom of speech, and the peculiar institution that is the NCAA?

    I like that the policy applies to employees, whether paid or unpaid, of the university, but somehow members of the media are able to display “blatant disregard for the policy.” The propaganda arm of our athletic department is buried so deep in its own product that it believes that you can show disregard for a policy that does not apply to you.

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  3. Oryx says:

    This is amazing: “Student-athletes face the unique challenge of balancing extremely busy schedules involving class, studying, practice, training room and competition.” This justifies “eliminating potentially intrusive situations” (e.g. talking to people asking them questions).

    The same logic should apply to students holding jobs, or students working in research labs: they have to balance extremely busy schedules involving class, studying, working, library, research lab, etc. Does this mean we prohibit them from freely speaking also, to “protect” them? I’d say this is appalling, and the answer is obviously ‘no.’ But apparently the Athletic office says ‘yes.’

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I am not advocating for the Athletic department’s actions on anything, but a fair critique of this does need to acknowledge that, like it or not, some athletes face public scrutiny much more than most other students. This is a unique situation for some. So, how can we have a reasoned debate about policies that actually are about protecting our students – not about protecting the athletic department from some 19 year old saying something embarrassing to the team?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Mistakes and embarrassment are all part of the learning process. This is a university. We have open discourse so the accurate and truthful information has a fighting chance to emerge.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dog Says

      This an interesting concept that a University is a place in which truthful information has a “fighting chance to emerge”.

      Something is clearly wrong with a University if truth just doesn’t simply emerge as a result of normal University operations.

      Mistakes and embarrassment may be fine learning outcomes for students but I would hope that faculty and admin people have mostly learned all of this in the past.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The athletic department would probably prefer they could keep athletes from speaking to the cops as well, so that stuff like “we smoked it all” wouldn’t get out there. I wonder if athletic dept. reps have already spoken to newly-minted police force DPS about the “proper” procedure for dealing with athletes who are arrested/detained?

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