|Universities are taking precautions to monitor their athletes' social media use. (cosida.com)|
University of Kentucky and University of Louisville athletes are free to tweet whatever they want. They don't, however, have a say in if their tweet will still be there the next morning.
Both Kentucky and Louisville athletes have agreements with their schools to have a monitoring system set up on their social media accounts. If an athlete tweets or posts one of the more than 400 banned words and phrases, the school is notified and can decide if the post needs to be removed.
What are these words? Many are references to alcohol, sex and drugs; some generic and others brand names. Blow, chronic, crunk, benjamins, stoned and breasts are all included. Names of alcoholic drinks and drugs — both kinds (Ale, whisky, cocaine, K2) and brands (Budweiser, Crown Royal and every other alcoholic drink imaginable) — as well as references to being drunk or under the influence are all covered. One of the gems on the banned phrase list is, "act a fool." So players, don't be quoting any DMX lyrics in your social media posts.
In an effort to keep players out of a different kind of temptation, Kentucky also has banned the names of 370 sports agents - as well as words like extra benefit, agent and contract - all of which referencing could compromise the athletes' amateur status.
Players are going to tweet. They are going to post statuses and comment on photos on Facebook and check in on Foursquare. Most athletes will be fine, but there will be those to tweet and post inappropriate subjects, ones that can get them, and the school, into trouble.
The power of social media was proven once again when multiple cases arose during the 2012 Olympics, where a Swiss soccer player and Greek track athlete were kicked off their national teams for racist tweets.
The monitoring system allows school officials to see and handle situations before the words become national news. With more and more cases of issues involving social media and athletes, it will be interesting to see if more universities take the "watchdog" approach to their athletes' social-media lives.
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