Student-Athletes and Social Media


Social Media has certainly changed our world. Years ago, coaches and universities did not have to worry about what athletes were posting on the Internet. Times have changed. Every tweet is now examined by the fans. Should the university create a policy to limit the social media use of its athletes? Students in our Coaching Principles course looked at that issue. Here are a few of their thoughts.

By: Harold Gibbs

I disagree with the fact that social media should be limited for countless amounts of reasons. First, I believe social media is a great platform to grow your following and market yourself and limiting that because a few bad apples seems to hurt those who use it correctly. For instance, take an athlete who is going to college for marketing and has a strong Twitter and Instagram following, by that athlete limiting what they can put out it hurts their social media image. Like stated in the USA Today article, Willie Cauley-Stein took it upon himself to simply delete social media which at the end of the day is his responsibility. What you put online is your responsibility regardless of who you are.

As a student-athlete it is difficult to keep a social life outside of one’s sport. To interact with different people even fan on something funny or an exchange of information can be an easy release from the normal pattern.Also, social media has landed people in relationships, both romantic and business alike. Although the dangers are sky high when it comes to using social media I believe so are the positives, especially for those going into communication and marketing majors. Social media creates new ways for interaction, the reporter can now access athletes through a couple clicks of a mouse, coaches and player can announce news like new jerseys and last it gives a fan the opportunity to communicate with athletes like they never have before. If the athlete doesn’t like the attention then a simply responsible deletion of their account can be done.


Auerbach, N. (2013). The good and bad of Twitter and college athletics. Retrieved from

By: Ryan Awe

I would agree that collegiate coaches should have a social media restriction on their athletes for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is because I don’t think college athletes are ready to handle all of the criticism that comes with playing collegiate sports. Since social media accounts allows for all people to be able to tag the athlete (direct the post to the athlete) the athlete might see people saying bad things about them after making a mistake in a game or after posting something questionable on social media.

“It’s tough knowing that everything you do is watched pretty closely because I’m doing the same stuff I’ve always done,” Manziel said Sunday. “It’s just now people actually care what I do…It’s hard to watch some of the stuff that people say to you when you take a picture or you do some stuff or you’re at these games or whatever. It’s tough to sit back, and you can’t really defend yourself.” (Auerbach)

This was said after some photos were posted of the Heisman trophy winner in a casino with a stack of money while still in college. It obviously bothers him that people say negative things about him and that can become a distraction and affect his game play.

I think a social media policy would be affective because it would prevent scenarios where athletes go over the line with something on social media and it becomes a legal issue, so they get suspended or kicked off the team completely.

“Although many have apologized for their untimely remarks, these athletes were suspended, stripped of their scholarship, or kicked out of their respective university altogether. Here, we present 15 College Athletes Who Got in Trouble Using Twitter.” (Sarkisova)


Auerbach, N. (2013). The good and bad of Twitter and college athletics. Retrieved from

Sarkisova, D (2013) The Good and bad of Twitter and College Athletes Retrieved From:

By: Christine Graham

After reviewing the materials regarding social media in this module, I don’t want to just say what I think people want to hear. I think it’s a good idea but then again I think it’s monitoring and treating college students like children, so therefore, I do and do not think schools should implement social media policies that limit student-athlete usage.  College is not only a place for learning but also for a young adult to grow and learn how to become a professional, educated, human being. When a college graduate gets a professional job, is their workplace going to monitor their social media as well? Needless to say I can see both sides of the coin.

Why do I agree with coaches limiting student-athlete social media usage?

Social media is a distraction for both the coaches and the players, who are students first and foremost. If the coach is unable to talk about next week’s game because he’s worried about what three of his players has posted on twitter- it becomes a distraction. If the players are thinking about the negative comments about his /her plays from this week’s game- it becomes a distraction. It interrupts a player’s focus on his/her playing ability and also interrupts concentration on their studies due to their focus on what is being said on their twitter accounts every ten minutes.

Why do I think a social media policy would be effective?

The article written in the USA Today, The Good and Bad of Twitter and College Athletes, there was a study done by two professors, Browning and Sanderson, and they made a good point in regards to players and tweeting with saying “They (players) are the conversation. People are actually talking about them, and as an 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kid, you’re very invested in what people are saying about you” also stating “It made me realize these guys are drawn to it, and it’s become so ingrained in them to want to know what people say,” Browning said. “These guys now have the avenue to look up directly what people are saying. What Twitter has opened up is what people saying to them. Browning and Sanderson have a very good point in their study showing that Twitter and the like can have a huge impact on a young person. Some student-athletes may handle it well and others may let it defeat them, causing them to start feeling inadequate and not worthy. Is there a solution to this? Yes. Social-media can be a useful constructive tool with the right education. Educate the players. Teach them how to manage messages they send and receive before they start tweeting. Schools need to be proactive instead of reactive and teach kids how to take the high road and be vigilant about the things they say because once it’s on the internet its forever.

Provide examples and research

In regards to social media, inappropriateness and the athletes the University of California has guidelines of which state “He (or she) will be subject to written warnings, which will then be followed by a meeting with the Director of Athletics and Head Coach while also penalties will be determined by the athletic department, including but not limited to suspension from his (or her) athletic team. I partially agree with that and think if that’s what it takes to get athletes to behave like adults and act accordingly than it’s a good idea. In the back of my mind I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that these college students, who want to be treated like adults, need a babysitter to govern their social media; but then again that could just be my age playing a factor here. I say if you’re in college you should know better, if you want to ruin your athletic career with meaningless “tweets” or “posts” than have at it I’m not a babysitter, I’m your coach. Life’s best lessons are learned from mistakes not by people making everything better and seamless. As stated in the article from the Good and bad of Twitter and College Athletics, “A tweet is just a tweet until it’s newsworthy” (Auerbach 2013). This is well said and is true but perhaps college students could be taught how to look at the big picture instead of the “right now”. What their actions now could possibly have effect on in the future, their future or other students’ future’s. Perhaps people don’t think of the impact “down the road” until it happens and then I guess the college or their parents will just smooth it over and make it better. I agree there should be an agreement for the athletes laying down the ground rules of what is appropriate to post and what isn’t appropriate to post (again, I can’t understand why this isn’t common sense)  then signed by the athlete, stating they understand the repercussions of their actions on social media that is deemed inappropriate and let them behave accordingly.


Auerbach, N. (2013). The good and bad of Twitter and college athletics. Retrieved from

Steinbach, P (2012) Schools Attempt to Control Athletes’ Social Media Use.

University of Southern California. Social media and guidelines for student-athletes. Retrieved from


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