Is Banning College Athletes from Tweeting the Answer? by Jerry Rizzo

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It’s no secret that the use of social media, namely Twitter, has been the common denominator in most college athlete posting blunders.  I don’t think it’s hard to understand why athlete’s publish their truest emotions for all their critics to see.  These are young, highly emotional individuals who feel they are subjects of 24/7 ridicule for the things they do in and outside their respective sports (Which they arguably are).

It’s my personal belief that as long as there is an outlet, such as Twitter, there will forever be blunders.  So how do coaching staffs and administrations try prevent these player slips?

While several schools in the past, including UNC and Texas Tech, have seen twitter bans handed down. Most recently New Mexico Men’s Basketball coach, Steve Alford, banned his player’s from tweeting.

Alford went as far as sending a handwritten fax to the Albuquerque Journal to inform the paper that incoming freshmen Jarion Henry, a notorious “tweeter” would not be allowed an account upon enrolling.  It was later reported that the rule applied to the rest of the team.

You can read the full story at http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/33080/steve-alford-bans-players-from-tweeting

While I’ve scratched my head in the past over this issue, Alford’s policy had me immediately beg the question “What lesson are these young athletes learning in social responsibility?”

There has to be a level of accountability here on both the staff and the athletes.  Banning Twitter is essentially turning a blind eye to an issue that these young men are going to face in their professional careers long after they have graduated.

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”, a quote by Armenian American dramatist and author William Saroyan that I feel is an adequate summation of the issue at large here.

How are college athletes expected to learn how to be accountable for their actions if coaches like Alford don’t require them to be?

Recent college athlete Twitter blunders:

http://www.technicianonline.com/news/c-j-leslie-posts-anti-gay-tweets-1.2561870 

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/07/21/590713/austin-prolific-tweeter.html

http://johnclay.bloginky.com/2010/10/17/randall-cobb-is-mad-at-the-fans-and-lets-them-know/

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