NCAA Division III Use of Twitter

We, the undersigned, express frustration and concern regarding the NCAA legislation limiting the use of Twitter by Division III collegiate coaches. Understanding that the rationale for the original legislation was to prevent invasive and unprofessional communication between prospective student-athletes and the collegiate coaches recruiting them, it is our feeling that the ban on Twitter specifically does not apply. We have come to this conclusion for the following reasons: For anyone to subscribe to follow a twitter feed requires deliberate action. The only people receiving twitter updates are those who have unmistakably requested them. Therefore it is impossible for prospective student athletes to be burdened by unwanted coach driven communication. If at any time the PSA determines they are no longer interested in a particular coach's twitter feed, they can simply unsubscribe at any time without the permission the coach. In this way twitter is in fact less invasive than e-mail or phone calls. Different rules for DI, DII, and DIII on this issue are confusing for everyone and does not support the original intent of the rule. If it is permissible communication for Division I prospective student-athletes, then it should be permissible for prospective Division III student-athletes. The exception criteria as explained in 13.02.10.3 can be met regardless of who the person is doing the posting. The language in the Division I legislation identifies Twitter as a micro-blog as opposed to a social networking site. We believe that there is no difference between Twittering and the Division III accepted practices of coach updated team blogs or unofficial team websites. Further, we feel that Twitter provides valuable opportunities to convey to parents, fans, faculty members, staff and prospective student-athletes what the division III experience is all about. For athletic departments that are understaffed in their sports information offices, Twitter allows coaches to communicate quickly, inexpensively and effectively with followers that care about their athletic programs. In order to continue moving forward as Division III athletic programs it is critical for coaches to find free ways to engage our communities about the exciting things happening with our student-athletes. While prospective student-athletes may be a small portion of that community, their existence should not prevent the use of this technology for the greater good. We kindly ask that the same rules of use for Twitter that have been accepted for Division I and II be applied to the DIII coaching community. We look forward to your response.

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