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Should OSU Players Be Allowed to Tweet?



Well LeBryan Nash’s timeline would imply that they shouldn’t, but let’s pretend for now like that’s the exception to the rule.

In the past few weeks football players at Kansas and South Carolina have received the Chris Peterson treatment by getting that little blue birdie ripped from their collective grasp. Boise’s ballsy head coach pulled the plug on Twitter last year preceding their 12-1 season.

An act full of noble intentions I’m sure, but nonetheless a bit misguided.

Just because you shut down Twitter doesn’t mean athletes aren’t going to express themselves via social media. There’s Facebook and Google+ and a whole host of other outlets through which an student-athlete can ruin his or her career. It definitely slows down the process of student-athlete X getting caught because those sites aren’t as heavily hawked as Twitter is, but that’s about all you’re doing.

“Oh, Jeff Fuller said something stupid online on a Wednesday night, people will now see it on Thursday afternoon instead of early Thursday morning. I’m beating the internet!!”

No, you’re not beating the internet. You’re just confusing kids who think your goal is to take things from them for your own benefit.

Darren Rovell wrote a stout column yesterday about why coaches (and administrators for that matter) should be in the business of educating athletes how to leverage media outlets to their advantage.

Friend of the blog (and part-time contributor) Kevin DeShazo thinks it’s so important that he started an entire company around the concept. He’s probably right too. Education > Ignorance.

It’s incredible to me the number of people who don’t understand what Twitter is for and how powerful it really is. Sure you get guys like Mike Cobbins (@mjc20OSU) and Marshall Moses (@marshallmoses33) who overuse it and unintentionally negate the ability of teammates and other players who are trying to use it correctly.

On the flip side of that you have guys like Brandon Weeden (@bweeden3) who really work to improve the way they’re perceived in the public. Weeden has taken the time to learn the tool and use it to his advantage. Isn’t that what life is all about? Isn’t that what coaches are always spewing about “teaching moments” and “the journey”? Or is that just something they say that sounds good so 5-stars will come run around for them for a few years of their lives?

I actually don’t actively follow most Oklahoma State athletes on Twitter for two reasons. First, there are a lot of them and to keep up with every single one would completely clog my feed. Two, they usually don’t say anything that insightful. Often they just talk back and forth or type incoherent stuff about football or basketball that I’m too unathletic and detached to understand.

The few that use it correctly however, really have an opportunity to build their own personal brand and tune me in as a fan. Both of which are infinitely helpful in the way of obtaining a job in sports (which a lot of these guys do) after college.

So don’t take away their ability to build this brand. That’s worse than not paying them the millions they’re bringing in for the school. Instead, take the time to teach them that every time they type something into their phone it’s either furthering their career or detracting from it. There’s no middle ground and I’m disappointed that Turner Gill, Steve Spurrier, and Chris Peterson have tried to create one.

I’m fine with instituting a freshman rule just like the one Gundy has in place right now that says first years can’t speak with the media (because Twitter is essentially “speaking with the media”). But social media and player-to-fan connectivity are not going anywhere (even if Twitter does) so better to institute systems that train, educate, and inform athletes now when platforms are less ubiquitous than waiting until later when the whole world is watching.

PS: Gundy should maybe put a moratorium on Twitter between Jan 10-12. You know, just in case…

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