NCAA bans Twitter hashtags

Twitter Hashtags Banned By NCAA On Football Fields

On-field Twitter hashtags have been banned by the NCAAA as a prohibited form of advertising. URLs are also out of bounds.

The college football hashtag ban came in the form of a new NCAA Rules Committee announcement. Among the permissible items include the NCAA logo, the conference logo, the school name/team name and logo, and (of course) two mentions of the name of the company that bought the event’s naming rights. Separate rules apply to post-season matchups. “All other items, including social media designations such as URL’s and hashtags, are prohibited,” the NCAA declared.

Note that the NCAA apparently needs some grammatical instruction in the proper use of the apostrophe.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs reportedly got the ball rolling as it were with Twitter hashtags: “Mississippi State added a hashtag last fall to commemorate the 2000 ‘Snow Bowl’ with Texas A&M. Michigan painted #goblue at each of its 25-yard lines, and Arkansas added #GOHOGS to its field. But most schools have been slow to take advantage of such social media tools. No matter — these endeavors have now been nipped in the bud by the NCAA.”

The new rules also detail permissible marking on pylons, among other things, and believe it or not specify the allowed-for size of team towels.

Some observers feel the NCAA social media police are overreacting to the Twitter hashtag issue: “The reason for this? Perhaps a hashtag falls under the category of advertising, which, according to the bulletin, is also prohibited on a team’s field unless otherwise designated. But it’s still interesting the NCAA would find it necessary to crack down on such a minor issue. #dumb.”

Given the burgeoning growth of social media, plus all the scandals in colleges sports in connection with corrupt practices by coaches, boosters, and so-called student-athletes, do you think that an NCAA Twitter hashtag ban is necessary or even reasonable?

[Image credit: Ianmccor]