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Media availability is on ASU’s football agenda and reporters rejoice

Herm Edwards is the head football coach at Arizona State.

Herm Edwards has never been one to shy away from a microphone. Sometimes that gets people in trouble, but the Arizona State football coach isn’t concerned. He’s doing just fine in his role with the university.

Edwards’ speaks with conviction and he’s teaching his players to do the same. Among his team policies is to allow athletes and assistant coaches to talk to the media, a punishable offense without prior approval at several schools.

Per a story in the Arizona Republic, Edwards’ ASU program provides media training to some and green-lights student-athletes, regardless of their year in school, to talk to reporters. With that, Edwards teaches his players skills they can use long after they leave the Tempe campus. He says he gives that freedom so athletes learn to speak to the media and public no matter what they do in life. He told reporter Kent Somers that when he makes players and assistant coaches available, it’s not for public relations purposes, but make no mistake, it’s great PR for that program.

Closed to media

I wrote about a related topic a few years ago (unfortunately, that post was lost in a website conversion) when Clemson coach Dabo Swinney prohibited his players from using social media during the football season, a policy that stood as of last season. It was 2015 and I was outspoken about the value of teaching college athletes to responsibly use social media instead of muting them. After all, college athletes play at institutions of higher education, so teach them! There are resources on and off campus from sports information directors to outside PR and media experts who are ready to help student-athletes sensibly engage and enjoy social media. During those sessions they’re taught social media time management and ways to mitigate reputation risk.

Competitive media climate thrives on independent voices

Edwards was a coach in the NFL and worked for nine years at ESPN before taking the reigns at ASU. During his NFL days, he was never afraid to share his thoughts with the media, and he appeared to keep it real during his time with the Worldwide Leader. In today’s competitive media climate, the desire and ability to speak for oneself wins the day. Bravo to Edwards for being a true teacher.


©Gail Sideman, 2019

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