Tuesday, October 14, 2008

College Sports Programs Dealing with Athletes on Social Networking Sites

For the past several years on campuses nationwide, coaches and athletic department personnel collectively have cringed at the thought of what can show up in cyberspace on those sites that demonstrates objectionable behavior by student-athletes. The broad question has become, "How to deal with it?" Administrators at Florida State and Kentucky have issued ultimatums to their athletes to be careful what they post, according to USA Today, and Loyola University Chicago forbids its athletes to belong. A sampling of Division I schools along the Front Range shows a variety of approaches toward dealing with such sites, though all say it is an issue they are monitoring. The University of Denver hockey team instituted a policy a little more than two years ago to monitor what athletes have posted on their social network sites. Usually, DU's volunteer assistant coach, a position held this season by University of Colorado graduate Michael Zucker, is in charge of making sure the Pioneers are not stepping out of line online. All DU hockey players, whether they have an account on Facebook, MySpace, or any other social service, must include Zucker on their network of friends. Athletes at the Air Force Academy live with restrictions most student-athletes never experience, but none of them deals with social networking sites.


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