Related Policies and Additional References:
The Athletics Communications Office provides exceptional service to coaches, student-athletes and administration in publicizing and promoting of the StMU Athletics Department accomplishments through innovative technology, creative thinking, relationship building and detailed organization. We accomplish this by researching applicable technology, developing strong relationships and partnerships internally and externally and develop specialized skill sets through training and effective strategic communication.
The St. Mary’s University Athletics Communications Office is the Official media outlet for the StMU Athletics Department, and the liaison to all external media outlets at the local, state and national levels. All official news regarding athletic events, student-athletes, coaches/staff and event results will be released from an athletic communications staff member. The department also produces digital publications, video projects and posters.
Athletics Communications Staff
The primary function of the Athletics Communications Office is to publicize and promote all sports at St. Mary’s University in the local, state and national media. Press releases distributed via e-mail, special mailings, social media and personal contact with the San Antonio media market are the primary methods used to create awareness. The Athletics Communications Office is also responsible for maintaining contact with the Lone Star Conference and the NCAA Statistical Services, in addition to daily maintenance of the department’s web site, keeping photo and video files, submitting statistical updates and maintaining the historical record through archiving and ongoing research.
Utilizing the Athletics Communications Office
The role of the Athletics Communications Office is to assist the St. Mary’s athletics staff and student-athletes in dealing with sports media representatives. The Athletics Communications staff will also help with promoting all sports programs’ accomplishments and activities, including community service and charitable functions. Finally, the Athletics Communications staff can help defuse any potentially embarrassing situations, prepare individuals for tough interviews, design campaigns to promote the programs or provide advice on coach and staff roles in publicizing StMU Athletics.
Please remember that there may be times when the Athletics Communications staff may not be able to get to your needs right away. Advance planning is the key. Plan to discuss your media, special promotional needs and other ideas relating to your sports well in advance of your season to help the staff meet your needs.
Score Reporting Procedures
The Athletics Communications Office will staff all regular season home events hosted by a StMU team and will provide complete statistical services for these home events that will be distributed to opponent(s), conference and NCAA staff and will also be reported to the local, regional and national media outlets. When StMU athletic teams are traveling for competition, the athletic communications staff will be responsible for making arrangements with the host institution’s athletic communications staff or a member of your coaching staff to obtain results preceding the competition. Special circumstances may warrant the need for a StMU Athletics Communications staff member to travel with a team and will be communicated with the appropriate teams as deemed necessary.
Statistics – Challenge of Coach
In the event of an issue with away statistics, the coach must see a St. Mary’s Athletics Communications staff member to discuss the disagreement. There is a 24-hour period immediately following a contest in which to challenge statistics. There is to be no discussion between a St. Mary’s coach and an opposing athletics communications staff member with regard to a possible statistical error.
Statistics – Challenge of Student-Athlete or Parent
It is not the role of a parent or student-athlete to argue statistics. Any disagreement must be brought to the student-athlete’s coach who will address the issue through the appropriate channels as described above.
Game Cancellation Policy
Upon official notification of the cancellation of any home or away sporting event, involving a StMU sports team, the head coach or a member of the coaching staff should first inform the Director of Athletics and then the Athletics Communications Director. At that time, the Athletics Communications Director will notify all necessary outlets such as game operations staff, media representatives, conference officials, athletic training staff and StMU administration of cancellation. If a make-up date is scheduled for the event, it is the coaching staff’s responsibility to notify the Athletics Communications Director so appropriate personnel can be notified and the event staffed in case it is a home contest.
Crisis Management Plan
Should an incident occur that involves a St. Mary’s University student-athlete, coach and/or staff member, you should immediately notify the Director of Athletics and the Associate AD for External Operations. The Director of Athletics will communicate as needed to all appropriate parties. In more severe and special instances for crisis communication, the University Communications Office/Chief of Staff will make any required official statements on behalf of StMU.
Department Photography Policy
All photography will be coordinated through the Athletics Communications Office. Only the Athletics Communications staff can arrange for a photo shoot. Photo shoots will generally be limited to one for headshots, one for team photos and as many as necessary to obtain adequate game action photos for each sport.
Event Music Policy
No inappropriate or unapproved music will be allowed at any StMU athletic event. All warm-up music and/or intro music be submitted to the Assistant Athletics Director for Creative Media and Marketing prior to the start of your season. At no time, should you or student-athlete approach game personnel with music to play on game day or should you or a student-athlete insert an auxiliary cord into the sound system. The sound system is for the use of the game management and athletic communications staff only.
The Athletics Communications office maintains, creates and manages all editorial, statistical and biographical content for the official StMU Athletics website. The StMU Athletics website can be accessed at www.rattlerathletics.com and is published by SIDEARM Sports. The StMU Athletics website also provides multimedia features such as live streaming video/audio broadcasts, live statistics of select games, video feature productions and social media links. The Athletics Communications staff is constantly working to improve the function of the StMU athletics website and will always be open to suggestion for improvement.
Members of the working press, verified electronic media and other news agencies can request credentials to cover StMU athletic events by calling the Athletics Communications Director at least 24 hours prior to game time. Accredited photographers and Electronic News Gathering crews may shoot from designated areas at all events. Should any media personnel requesting admittance to a StMU athletic event contact a coach, please direct them to the Athletics Communications Director.
Credentialed media members will only be provided access to coaches and student-athletes during post game, following the NCAA-mandated (10 minutes) post-game cooling off period. At that time, the Athletics Communications Director will arrange any interviews directly.
Statistics and Media Services
Current cumulative statistics and relevant team information will be furnished to the working media prior to game time as needed. Complete statistical information will be available to the media and coaching staffs at the conclusion of all StMU home athletic events. Telephones and wireless internet are available for use in the AA&CC, Softball Press Box and Dickson Stadium Press Box. Please contact a member of the Athletics Communications staff to request usage of these services.
All interviews with current student-athletes, coaches and/or staff MUST be coordinated through the Athletics Communications office. If contacted directly by someone claiming to be a media representative, you should direct him or her to the Athletics Communications Director to schedule a time for the interview. If the requests are extensive, a press conference may be called. If requested, a regular weekly/monthly time may be established for media representatives to meet with you.
During all in-person interviews, please dress appropriately. It is important for coaches, staff and student-athletes to represent the StMU Athletic Department in a professional manner at all times. It is their responsibility to be mindful that statements and behavior with media members present should generally be considered on-the-record and subject to public reporting.
Any social media sport page or social site that bears the official StMU name, promotes and represents a StMU athletics team is the deemed property of StMU and StMU Athletics. StMU teams are represented with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Athletics Communications office will maintain a list of social pages, usernames and passwords for each of these sport accounts. Anyone joining the staff for the first time can obtain the pertinent login information required to gain access to the available social platforms for their sport or program.
NOTE: You will be allowed to add content to these social platforms in any appropriate way that you deem necessary to promote your sport or program, but you will NOT be allowed to alter or change the login or password information that is kept on file. If you wish to change any login information, work with the Assistant Athletics Director for Creative Media and Marketing and accommodations will be considered. Upon leaving or resigning from the University, posting to these social platforms will be terminated and passwords will be changed to preserve the value-added content that exists on the social platform. If you believe the password or account has been compromised publicly, notify the Assistant Athletics Director for Creative Media and Marketing immediately.
Social media encompasses a broad sweep of online and mobile activities, all of which can have a positive impact on the StMU Athletic Department’s digital footprint. Social networks include blogs, social sharing platforms, visual sharing sites, professional networks, microblogging sites and social bookmarking sites. As an employee of StMU Athletics, the administration wants you to feel empowered to utilize these social mediums to promote your programs, the StMU Athletic Department and the University. However, be aware of the risks that could negatively impact the department or institution, and exercise proper judgement when posting to social networking sites. Always remember, you are a representative of the athletics department. Staff members and coaches shall not use the official accounts to disseminate personal beliefs, such as political speech or criticisms of players, other programs or governing associations. As all posts are from the official account, they must always remain within the values and mission of St. Mary’s and the StMU Athletics Department.
Social networking platforms are powerful resources used to engage others who have an interest in the StMU Athletics Department, its staff, individual teams and student-athletes. However, the various social media platforms can produce many pitfalls for both coaches and student-athletes. Make it a priority to counsel your staff and student-athletes on responsible use of their social media. It is imperative they understand that they are public figures and their online behavior is both a reflection of the program and the StMU Athletics Department. Coaches and staff should familiarize themselves with the existing social media platforms currently in use by members of their teams to understand the value, content and drawbacks for themselves.
Student-athletes should avoid using social media in private team-only areas such as locker rooms and bathrooms, particularly photo and video platforms. Events and issues that occur within the team, within the team space should remain as such, and not be broadcast to the public. Student-athletes should also be mindful of their surroundings when posting to social platforms, unnoticed activities in the background could cause issues for the athlete or team.