Saturday, August 02, 2008

Social networking 101 - "How not to turn out like Iowa"

I saw this article while I was on vacation over the weekend, and I must admit I stored it in the memory banks for later discussion.

We all know the stories of what's happening at Iowa. To be honest, there's FAR more than one story, but the university is being ripped apart right now by an underbelly within the athletic department and an administration that was unwilling (and at times defiant) to police behavior.

Let's be frank here....these situations are easy to find. College kids are going to have a tendency to run wild. I did it, you did it, we all did it. But you put a pack of 18-to-22 year olds on national television simply because they know how to play a game, and you're going to boost some egos to a point of danger.

So a college kid is going to find trouble occasionally. What happens next will determine whether or not the next "incident" is worse. And here's where Iowa comes into the story. I'll spare you the gory details of the Hawkeyes issues (but my friends at Black Heart Gold Pants can give you a LOT of detail). It ain't pretty.

If you have an administration that keeps a close eye on these kids, and provides guidance and discipline properly, you can knock the strays back into line (while at the same time removing the lost causes entirely). This is where Iowa went horribly, horribly wrong.

Which brings me to the article I read. Over at USA Today, they had a piece regarding universities creating guidelines for social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, etc).

At first, I was prepared for the worst, especially when I discovered that one of the 27 schools USA Today studied was The Ohio State University. I was happily relieved to read the following;
Ohio State: Athletes "shall not post or contribute any content to any social networking or other internet site that reflect negatively … on yourself, your team. …" The university may monitor sites, and athletes may not block coaches or staff members from viewing. Coaches are given discretion of how to monitor their team.
Now, that may not sound like much....but I am thrilled to hear that a watchful eye is kept on our boys. No random pictures of WRs flashing gang signs and wads of cash are likely to surface with a policy like that. Actually, with that policy, it's less likely that such behavior will even take place.

Other schools policies?
-- Miami: Monitor at the beginning of every academic year and take appropriate actions.
-- LSU: Warns athletes to use websites responsibly.
-- Florida: Sends a letter to athletes at the beginning of the academic year warning them of social networking issues.
Seriously? They send a letter out? Wow, there's administrative quality. And how the hell does ANYBODY have worse social monitoring than the University of fucking Miami?

Cue the first SEC or Michigan fan* to scream "Maurice Clarett!"

Go ahead. I welcome the insult. You know why?

Maurice Clarett is the perfect example of a school taking ACTION on a bad seed. Clarett first found trouble with Ohio State when he was found with several dozen high-value items that probably weren't his.

You know what Ohio State did? They kicked him out.

Jim Tressel saw the cancer in the organization and he cut it loose. It was much LATER that Maurice went off the deep end and tried to go all Henry-Hill-meets-Tupac on the world.

But where the policy went RIGHT at Ohio State? Troy Smith. The kid did wrong, and he was yanked to the corner for it. His transgression cost us the Texas game in 2005, but it was FAR more important to get the kid back in line. Tressel got him back in line, doing the right thing by a stupid college kid who was capable of learning from his mistakes.

You know the rest.

So for all the issues we see with college football players these days, I give a little hat tip to Tressel and the entire administration at OSU. Because without these policies and good men and women upholding the policies, it could be a LOT worse.

Just ask Iowa.

* - easiest way to tell the difference between anonymous Michigan fans writing hate mail and anonymous SEC fans writing hate mail? Grammar.

1 comment:

Bill Biggens said...

Hhahahahhaa. This is funny. "easiest way to tell the difference between anonymous Michigan fans writing hate mail and anonymous SEC fans writing hate mail? Grammar."

Jeff... contact me via email when you can. idesdema (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!