MEDIA COVERAGE: INTERVIEWS, PRESS CONFERENCES AND PRESS RELEASES
The University of Kansas’ 18 intercollegiate athletics programs generate a high level of public interest and media coverage both regionally and nationally. Kansas Athletics is aware that its image directly affects the reputation of the entire University, and therefore urges all student-athletes, coaches and staff to exercise extreme caution when making any statements to the media. Specific policies and guidelines have been developed to assist student-athletes and Kansas Athletics personnel with the management of media interviews, conferences and reactions to specific news releases.
The Director of Athletics, working in conjunction with the Associate Athletic Director/ External Affairs and the coaches, is ultimately responsible for determining which types of information and commentary are appropriate for media release. Coaches and student-athletes retain the freedom to speak with media representatives without supervision, but are restricted from providing privileged information concerning Kansas Athletics and specifically its student-athletes.
Release of Student-Athlete Information
Kansas Athletics staff members are expected to comply with University, Conference, NCAA and Federal rules regarding the release of personal information concerning student-athletes and prospective student-athletes. As specified by these governing authorities, only the following information may routinely be released for legitimate purposes:
- Student-athlete’s name and permanent address;
- Date and place of birth;
- Residency status, college, major and academic level;
- Most recently attended institution, dates of attendance at the University of Kansas, degree and awards received;
- Weight and height;
- History of participation in officially recognized sports and activities; and
In accordance with the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), personal information about the student-athlete is not to be used or released unless the student-athlete gives his/her written consent to the University for the release of such information for publicity purposes. The written release is kept on file in the Director of Athletics Office.
- Release of Telephone NumbersStudent-athletes’ are to be advised by their Head Coaches to request unlisted telephone numbers to discourage unsolicited phone calls. The Media Relations Office does not provide the student-athlete’s number to representatives of the media. However, when appropriate, the Media Relations Office does arrange for student-athletes to return calls to members of the media at their expense.
- Prospective Student-Athlete InformationThe Media Relations Office retains sole authority to release the names of prospective student-athletes following the receipt by the University of a National Letter of Intent. Any premature or unauthorized disclosure of this information may result in NCAA sanctions against the school. Media inquiries regarding any verbal commitments to the University should produce a “no comment” response by athletic staff members. Persistent inquiries should be referred to the Associate Athletic Director/Communications.Interviews
The Media Relations Office serves as the primary clearinghouse for interview requests and is solely responsible for the coordination of student-athlete interviews with legitimate representatives of electronic and print media. Although all requests for interviews received by Kansas Athletics personnel should be referred to the Media Relations Office, coaches and administrative personnel have the right to schedule their own interviews.
The Media Relations Office schedules interview sessions throughout the athletic season and academic year, based on media interest and intercollegiate athletics activities. In general, interview sessions for revenue sports are scheduled on a daily basis before or after practice, as designated by the Head Coach, with post-game interviews scheduled to follow the conclusion of each intercollegiate event. The Media Relations Office provides the following assistance with the coordination of interviews:
- Establishment of ground rules for interview, selection of location and formal introduction of participants;
- Preparation and release of background material relative to the interview;
- Appropriate guidance to individual(s) being interviewed with special focus placed on probable topics;
- Instruction to student-athletes regarding appropriate interview and media relations techniques;
- Coordination of interview process to insure the avoidance of conflicts with class time, as well as team or school activities; and
- Special assistance to student-athletes and Kansas Athletics staff who may have specific problems with the media.
Coaches and Student-Athlete Guidelines
All coaches and student-athletes are encouraged and expected to participate in outside media interviews in order to present a positive image of both the individual and the University. Telephone and in-person interviews of student-athletes are to be arranged through the Media Relations Office, at the convenience of both parties. Interview questions asked of student-athletes and coaching staff are to be answered honestly with tact and diplomacy.
Head Coaches are responsible for insuring that their student-athletes are instructed in the appropriate manner of addressing media representatives during interviews. While different guidelines may be required for different sports, coaches should include instruction on responding to both typical and high stress situations which may occur during or after a game.
Additional policies and guidelines concerning interviews are as follows:
1. All interviews which may address any controversial issues or a matter under investigation are subject to the prior approval of the Director of Athletics.
2. Post-game interviews are conducted after a normal ten-minute “cooling off” period. In all sports, win or lose, coaches and student-athletes should be available to the press following an athletic event.
3. Media representatives are to be advised that interviews with student-athletes may not interfere with classes, practice time or other scheduled activities.
4. Calls from media representatives are to be returned promptly, to insure that the “story” has appropriate comments from a University of Kansas coach or student-athlete.
5. “Off the record” comments are not guaranteed to remain “off the record.” Questions of a sensitive nature should be referred to the appropriate administrator.
It is the Head Coach’s responsibility to instruct his/her coaching and administrative staff regarding their responses to the media. Staff members should also be familiar with Media Relations Office policies. Coaching staff should be aware that they are expected to be courteous at all times–but they are not required to provide answers to all of the media’s questions.
Press conferences pertaining to the intercollegiate athletics program may only be called by the Media Relations Office at the direction of the Director of Athletics. In general, press conferences are scheduled on a sport-by-sport basis, depending on current media interest, with a regularly scheduled football and basketball press conference during the season. Coaches are not permitted to call their own press conferences.
The Media Relations Office is responsible for the writing, editing and distribution of all press releases pertaining to the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Kansas. Media releases are routinely distributed for staff hires or changes, major athletic events and personality features, as well as other newsworthy issues and items.
All releases are to be presented in a professional and newsworthy manner, providing appropriate statistical data, notes, quotes and other facts concerning the subject. Any staff member desiring to release an item to the public should notify the Media Relations Office of the issue to be covered and then assist the Office in insuring that the information to be released is factual, appropriate and serves to promote the best interests to Kansas Athletics and the University. Any press releases which may be of a sensitive nature requires the prior approval of the Director of Athletics.
Press releases are distributed on a daily basis, as dictated by the story’s newsworthiness to standard local, regional and national news sources, as identified on the media list, and as deemed appropriate by the Associate Athletic Director/ External Affairs.