November 20, 2013 by ryanfadus
When it comes to social media, some of the people most watched are student-athletes or those trying to become student-athletes. In either case, the person has to be very careful what they say since it could end up hurting them in the long run. There have been several cases in recent years of athletes in college and in high school losing scholarships or getting kicked off them team because of what they put on social media.
At WVU, there is a large presence of athletes and even coaches on Twitter and Facebook. All athletes and coaches are held to high standards and must be careful what they say and how they say it. WVU has a set place of guidelines for employees at WVU, but nothing specifically targeting athletes. However, while the rules aren’t directly focused on athletes, they can still take notes from them.
One rule states that, “Users must not post confidential information about West Virginia University, its faculty, staff, or students.” While it seems unlikely that any athletes would in fact do this, an athlete for example could become very upset with a professor and start posting private information about them on a social media site. Having things like this in place keep order and maintain stability.
Not only do these guidelines cover social media, but also comment sections on articles or even statements made on social media sites. Whenever someone offends us, it is natural for us to respond with anger and sometimes saying things we regret later. That’s where this guideline comes into play; “Strive to maintain an appropriate and respectful tone when engaging in online discussion. Even though you are not speaking on behalf of the institution, readers will likely associate you with it. The actions and words of even one student may reflect on the reputation of the entire University.” Nothing is truer of this than with athletes, since they are also students, but they represent the school with the jerseys they wear and all the other apparel.
These are just two examples of the guidelines that WVU has in place in order to keep the reputation of the school and the people who work here/study/play here intact. However, some might think that these just apply to those who go here. Even those who are planning to come here as student-athletes are held to these same standards.
As was the case a few years ago when one of the University of Michigan’s top recruits’ scholarship was revoked after several inappropriate tweets were discovered. Most of them talked drinking and getting with girls and Michigan did not like this one bit. They took away his scholarship and now he is playing at some school where he probably will never get drafted.
This is a perfect example of how social media can be used against athletes and it could end up ruining their lives. Some of them think they are above the rules, but one misstep and they could be just another student instead of an athlete. Athletes can use social media to their advantage to get people more involved in the game or some event that the team is having, but it just takes one time for them to screw up and it can all come crashing down.