Should College Players be Banned from Social Media?

With the U.S. college football season about to get under way, social media has been getting a lot of attention – in more ways than one.

  • There is no shortage of stories about college players getting in hot water for something they posted online, or something that was posted about them. Ditto for the pros
  • College coaching staffs have dramatically increased the ways they are using social media, and how much they are using it, to recruit n
  • High school hopefuls, whether they know it or not, are being judged by college programs at least in part based on what they post online. Are they a good risk for the school that they hope will grant them a scholarship?
  • High school players, or eveew playersn entire teams have been punished or suspended for inappropriate online activity

This month, big time programs Florida State and Clemson both announced that they are banning players from posting on social media for the season. In the case of Florida State, the ban is described as “voluntary”, and has been in place since 2011. At Clemson, shutting down social media came as a surprise to players. Many of them posted about it online and seemed to be okay with the idea (proof that they are trained to say the right things online at least some of the time?). At least one journalist thinks it’s a bad idea.twitter-ncaa

Contrast that with the news this week that another major college coach, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, thinks that such a ban is a bad idea. In an article at NewsOK:

“We’re going to try and educate them and talk to them about what’s positive and the negative and things to stay away from, and try to go [in] that direction. … You know, we have 132 players on our team. To try and regulate or put a stop to that for us here, we just don’t have the manpower to handle that type of situation.

Our players understand that they need to be very careful with what they put out there… They revolve around their phones. So, we educate them and try to get them to make good decisions….”

The article above had a related poll, asking sports fans if they thought that social media bans are a good idea. The results were overwhelmingly against the bans. 94% of respondents answered “no” to the question “Should college football programs ban players from social media during the season”.

college-fb-social-media-poll

We agree with coach Gundy that an outright ban runs contra to the goal of educating young men. Teaching what is appropriate in terms of online conduct is certainly possible. Banning it altogether could lead to players using fake accounts, or relying on the false security, such as the idea that Snapchat pictures are private then disappear.

We don’t ban teens from driving because they might get in an accident. Let’s not ban social media – an integral part of modern life – because of the risks.

 

 

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