Collegiate Sports · Just my Thoughts · Sports

Facebook, MySpace and the College Athlete

I am not a huge fan of Facebook or MySpace but I do have profiles on both.  I don’t sit and regularly check them as my teenagers do.  I do regularly check my teenagers’ profiles, though.  The problem is a lot of teenagers and early 20s kids don’t get that people other than your “friends” check your “life in cyberspace.”

The most recent problem is in Texas.  Mack Brown has removed a lineman from his team – not just for a game but for good.  The reason for Buck Burnette’s name no longer appearing on the Texas Longhorn roster – racial remarks towards President-elect Obama on his Facebook page.

When my youngest daughter left for Division I soccer pre-season a few years back, I remember her telling me that the coach had warned the girls at orientation to not post any pictures of under-age drinking on their MySpace or Facebook pages.  A lacrosse player had some pretty interesting drinking pics on one of her pages the year before.  She was no longer at the college or maybe it was that she was no longer playing lacrosse.  The point was, the coach had found out about this one player, along with teammates, breaking team rules via the internet.

Now, a scholarship and possibly – quite a few of Texas’s college players go on to play in the NFL – a future career have been ended.  First, the statement – which is no longer available along with the Facebook page – was ignorant.  It may or may not have been something the poster agreed with but just passing it on was not a smart move.  Second, I am pretty certain that the team was told that pages such as these would be checked.  Very few coaches check these things without telling the team first.

What do you think?  Did Mack Brown do what was right?  Did he overstep?  Do you think the NCAA should step in and make “no personal pages of any kind” a rule?

2 thoughts on “Facebook, MySpace and the College Athlete

  1. You really don’t want me on my soapbox, do you?

    Whether Mack Brown’s decision is right or wrong is a complicated, free speech issue. I’ve found a simple way to look at such freedoms. Where your freedom ends is where it tramples upon another’s. Not having read the post, I’ll respectfully decline to have an opinion on this one.

    The bigger issue is the use of the internet, and these social media sites and personal blogs.

    As parents, we need to educate our kids – when they are young – on appropriate and careful use.

    These kids, like yours and mine, are old enough to grasp the concept of consequences.

    Post, say, or do something in any public forum and it is no longer a matter of privacy – by your own action.

    MySpace, FaceBook, Blogger, whatever – are public forums there for all the world to see. Expect consequences if you post evidence of wrong doing.

    Expect ramifications regardless. Some, like your own friends, will be amused, take it light heartedly, or engage you in a respectful debate.

    Others may not. You may be flamed or ridiculed. You may be reprimanded, suspended, or expelled from organizations, teams, schools. You may be fired. You may be prosecuted. You may be sued.

    Nicki, you probably weren’t aware of the things going on with my boys and their illustrious friends during our Mod Squad Days. It was back around the time of Thomas’ horrific accident.

    Sweet young thing who was driving, unlicensed, was not living at home with her parents. She was living in an apartment with her 21 year old “adult” sister.

    Each of these kids, as well as my boys, and most of their friends had MySpace pages.

    Pages that revealed the true nature of what had been going on, and continued for nearly a year afterwards.

    This apartment was party central, and I’m not just talking “normal” teen drinking. There were photos of a cocaine dusted coffee table, bongs used as vases, a freezer full of shrooms, and pyramids of prescription bottles mixed in with the expected beer cans and wine & brandy bottles.

    There were OPEN posts of when and where the parties were. When the heat was on, parties were moved to fields, the river, and homes of vacationing parents.

    There were friendly comments broadcast out to the “gang” – complete with full face photo profiles and real names – “Save your change, homies! Drop it off at my crib Friday, and I’ll bring the booze to Rachael’s Saturday – her mom’s at Bike Week in Daytona!”

    I guess they never figured on this old b*tch being as internet saavy as they were.

    Their argument? These were private conversations posted on personal, private web sites.


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