Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Should colleges ban athletes from Twitter?

N.C. State's decision to stop its basketball players from tweeting is drawing a thumbs-down from the Charlotte sports marketing firm that advises Penn State, the Big Ten Network, ESPN Plus and other big names in the sports world on handling social media. When I asked Liz Barrett, a consultant with Sports Media Challenge, what she thought, she said N.C. State went too far. She said student-athletes, properly supervised, should be able to handle social media.

Not sure I agree that they'll always follow marching orders and avoid embarrassing their schools, but I do think universities, normally such bastions of free speech, risk looking like free speech censors when they tell student-athletes they can't express themselves in a public forum. Barrett's firm's currently surveying student-athletes, university officials and the general public on the subject. Click here if you'd like to vote.

What do you think? Is it right for colleges to tell students on athletic scholarships that they can't use Twitter?


Anonymous said...

I don't care what the other schools do, but UNC is the flagship school and a leader in communications and journalism, so they so the athletes there should be exempt from this freedom of speech. If not for Marvin Austin's tweets, we would never know the glamorous side of Tarheel sports and only hear the feel good comfort side. Let Freedom of Press and Meida prevail!!

Timothy Whitson said...

That's a tough question; on one hand student athletes who receive financial assistance due to their athletic ability enter into a "contract" to maintain personal standards of conduct that won't embarrass the school. On the other hand is the overall university experience which should encourage free thinking and speech. I suspect in the larger scheme of things that free speech should win out, but just like anything you say or post to the internet there will inevitably be consequences whether "official" or not. The Constitution doesn't say the coach has to give you floor time, or start you; that decision rests solely with him.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a tough question. I personally find Twitter to be one of the most annoying things on Earth, but obviously most people like it and use it. But, the first time a school loses a big game when a player runs a play incorrectly because he didn't know what he was doing because he was tweeting while the team was teaching the play, you'll see a lot more banning of tweets.

I would say athletes should be prohibited from it during practice and game days, but other than that they should be allowed to.

C Harris said...

can't we just ban everyone from twitter, no one cares what you had for lunch

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