The University of Kentucky Athletic Department is again at odds with the school’s newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel. A Kernel reporter called two walk-on basketball players to confirm they were joining the team. Afterward, he reportedly sought further comment, which UK officials say violates the school media guide. It says all requests for comments from players should go through the school’s public relations staff to prevent players from being bombarded by questions.
The reporter was subsequently banned from an interview session with players. The move prompted the Associated Press Sports Editors to say UK treated the reporter unfairly:
There is also the abridgment of basic First Amendment rights to decide access issues based on what the publication writes. This is a form of censorship, something institutions of higher learning should find as repulsive as the media do.
Ultimately, the decision to talk to the media rests with the athlete and if you don’t want your players to talk to the media without the SID office interceding then you have to get that message to the athletes. And, we believe you did as the athletes in question chose not to talk.
DeWayne Peevy is the sports information director who banned the reporter. He has not returned WFPL’s request for comment, but told other outlets the move was a one-time event meant to punish a violation of the rules. He previously tweeted about banning a CBS sports correspondent from UK home games.
Last year, the athletic department asked newspaper staff not to distribute copies of the paper at football games.