UMBC ebiquity
Schools watch their athletes on social media

Schools watch their athletes on social media

Tim Finin, 3:33pm 28 July 2008

USA today has a story, Schools creating new rules for social networking policies, on how coaches are monitoring what their athletes are doing using social media.

“More college athletic departments are developing or publicizing online social networking policies for student athletes, experts say. USA TODAY researched social networking policies for 27 schools in six major conferences, including the University of Iowa, which will implement a new monitoring policy Friday. Last fall, pictures emerged on Facebook of two 19-year old Hawkeye football players holding cash and liquor bottles.”

I first heard about this new aspect of student life from UMBC Professor Zeynep Tufekci, who talked about how the student athletes in her classes took pains to ensure that their online presence didn’t reveal any evidence of training violations, like being at a party where underage drinking occurred.

Making your profile available to only your friends won’t work for Ohio State athletes:

“Ohio State, on the other hand, requires athletes to have a public profile or add coaches and administrators as friends (which gives access to the private profile).” … OSU senior associate athletic director Miechelle Willis said athletes raised the issue when discussing the policy. She replied that putting something on the Internet made it public. “We have a responsibility to monitor OSU athletics and if you want to be a part of our department we have an obligation to make sure you are representing us in the right way, and try to protect you,” Willis said. “We really have not had any problem with (privacy).”


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