After the NCAA suspended a college football player for a controversial tweet (a Lehigh player reposted a friend’s tweet that used a racial slur to disparage the Towson football team), so the Towson Tigers’s head coach, Rob Ambrose decided to take matters into his own hands. He told his players they had to get off Twitter until further notice.
While it’s hard not to see this as an imposition on the players’ rights, Ambrose is just trying to keep his team on the up-and-up. ““I watched about seven or eight players from Thanksgiving until Jan. 1,” Ambrose told the Towson Towerlight. “If I were to have adhered to the letter of the law, I bet we would have suspended 50 percent of my team and at least 50 percent of the athletic department.” He pointed out that players may not yet understand how social media can take only a second to post, but can have lasting consequences: “If these kids put something out there that is misinterpreted by the wrong person and blown up in the media, they are ruined for life.” The Tigers follow in the footsteps of the University of North Carolina, which banned its football team from Twitter after an NCAA investigation. At other schools, assistant coaches are charged with monitoring students’ Twitter accounts; tracking software can also keep track of student athletes’ online presence.
Ambrose himself has a Twitter account, and has tweeted more than a thousand times. But nothing that would rankle the NCAA, we’re sure.