SBD/August 21, 2012/Media

Kentucky, Louisville Among Growing List Of Schools Monitoring Athletes' Social Media Use

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Athletes at the Univ. of Louisville and Univ. of Kentucky must “surrender their online privacy to their coaches under a social media monitoring system used by both schools and others across the country,” according to a front-page piece by Mark Boxley of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. As a condition of “participating in sports, the schools require athletes to agree to monitoring software being placed on their social-media accounts.” The software “emails alerts to coaches whenever athletes use a word that could embarrass the student, the university or tarnish their images on services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.” UL flags “406 words or slang expressions that have to do with drugs, sex, or alcohol” and UK flags “a similar number, of which 370 are sports agents’ names.” The decision at UL whether to subscribe to UDiligence is “left up to each sport’s head coach,” and UL Senior Associate AD/Media Relations & SID Kenny Klein said that the men’s basketball and football teams “do not use the service.” UK Exec Associate AD DeWayne Peevy noted that all UK athletes "are required to use the Centrix Social service.” DC-based attorney and digital media expert Bradley Shear calls the practice “unbelievably outrageous” and “clearly unconstitutional.” He said that regulating students’ social media “opens the door to serious legal liability for the schools.” Boxley notes Baylor, Florida, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss, Texas, and Texas A&M are among the other colleges to use UDiligence; Centrix Social is used by Auburn, Mississippi State and South Carolina, among others (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/21).

MONITORING THE MASSES: In San Jose, Jeff Faraudo reports Cal Dir of Football Social Media & Alumni Relations Delaney Gallagher will handle Cal's football alumni relations, but spend the “bulk of his time ... monitoring Facebook and Twitter for anything related to Cal football -- and especially recruiting.” Gallagher said, "I'm on there all day, from the moment I get in, to the moment I go to bed. It's part of the job. It's a necessity.” Cal football coach Jeff Tedford said, “It's not like we had our head buried in the sand by any means. But to monitor that 24 hours a day, no one has time for that -- especially me -- unless you can specifically have someone who that's their role.” Faraudo notes it is now “Gallagher’s job to deliver Cal’s digital message and to track the recruiting chatter and loop Tedford and his staff into anything relevant.” Cal AD Sandy Barbour said that being “on board with social media is ‘non-negotiable’ these days” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/21).

AN ISSUE IN THE PROS, TOO: The NFL Giants faced an internal issue after a locker-room video of DE Jason Pierre-Paul dunking CB Prince Amukamara appeared on the Twitter feed of P Steve Weatherford. The N.Y. Daily News’ Bob Raissman said social media is “becoming a problem for these teams.” Raissman: “You have the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals saying his guys can't tweet. You have a lot of restrictions being placed because these guys can't handle it.” SportsNet N.Y.’s Eamon McAnaney said, “People do dumb things with smartphones" (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 8/20). NBC Sports Network’s Amani Toomer said,  “Since Twitter came out, there is no way you’re going to be able to keep some of this stuff (in). ... Stuff like this will come out and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg” ("NBC Sports Talk," NBC Sports Network, 8/20).
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