SBD/October 30, 2012/Media

What's Trending: Univ. Of Michigan Formalizes Social Media Policies For Athletes

UM formalized its social media practices after secondary NCAA violations
The Univ. of Michigan athletic department has “formalized its social media practices,” following a "national trend of colleges tightening their grip on student athletes’ social media practices,” according to Kellie Woodhouse of The department “now distributes the same set of guidelines to all teams and asks each athlete to sign a social media use agreement.” Previously, social media usage was “less streamlined and formalized.” UM's policy “is straightforward, advising students not to post when they’re emotional, not to use offensive language or slurs, and not to tweet during class.” Athletes who violate the policy "can be reprimanded or, worse, face suspension.” UM Associate AD/Media & PR David Ablauf said that since the "rise of social media, U-M has suspended a ‘handful’ of student athletes because of inappropriate posts.” He added that no suspensions “occurred on the football, basketball or hockey teams.” However, UM WR Roy Roundtree and LB Kenny Demens in March “each earned the football team secondary NCAA violations for tweeting at Michigan recruit Mike McCray, who attends Roundtree’s former high school.” UM football coach Brady Hoke has said that he "will not ban his players from Twitter and other social media” because doing so “doesn’t engender responsibility.” Hoke: “There’s a maturity that goes along with it. You’ve got kids … growing up who aren’t getting coached on the use of Twitter. We try to educate our guys all the time" (, 10/29).
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