New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker joined Chris Peterson of Boise State in banning the use of Twitter by his players. As the use of social networking has grown, so have the issues associated with the use of such a open, fast method of communication.
At Aggies media day, Walker had this to say, "You've got 105 guys on your football team. It's not a matter of not trusting guys. Guys may say things and do things that can affect not only our football team, but our university, and not even mean it."
Both Walker and Peterson are controlling the outlet of team information and personal opinions by young men still searching for a filter to their conduct. One could argue this may be overbearing and controlling, but recent history has shown what young players are capable of.
Last year Jim Leavitt of South Florida banned the use of Twitter after wide receiver Carlton Mitchell posted a tweet just moments before a game against Wofford.
Also in 2009, Texas Tech linebacker Marlon Williams ripped into his former coach Mike Leach after a defeat to Houston. Another Red Raider, Brandon Carter, leaked information on his Twitter account about his suspended status for an upcoming game.
These two incidents in Lubbock prompted Leach to ban the use of Twitter by his team.
In another social networking blunder, former Oregon wide receiver Jamere Holland was kicked off the team after ripping the program on Facebook concerning the possible discipline of Kiko Alonso.
Coaches are quickly learning to oppose or embrace social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook. Steve Sarkisian, Les Miles, and Jim Harbaugh have all built large followings on Twitter.
Instead of opposing social networking, possibly coaches should find the resources to embrace the opportunity for free publicity and a simple connection with loyal fans. Facebook fan pages continue to grow for teams, players, and coaches.
It will be interesting to see if additional programs look to ban the use of Twitter and other social networking sites. Much like any other employer, what is said and done in your own personal life can still be held against you.
The only difference is these are college athletes getting paid with education and the opportunity to play at the next level.
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