Social Networking and College Athletes

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Freedom of Speech in College Athletics
Brent Schrotenboer argues that the reputation of colleges is more important than the views and opinions of a student-athlete that attends such colleges. Student-athletes participating on the women’s soccer team at San Diego State University were suspended for posting inappropriate pictures and statuses on a social networking site. They were warned by their coach that a punishment would be issued upon their continuance of posting such statuses about consuming alcoholic beverages and criticisms of the soccer program. The students did not heed their coaches warning and were thus penalized for it. The student-athletes felt that the punishment violated their fundamental right of freedom of speech outlined in the Constitution. College administrators are desperately searching for a solution to this ongoing problem that allows anyone to access the postings of college students and athletes alike. Some colleges allow the discretion of college coaches to regulate their players’ social networking activities and others set regulations for all sports programs. The total prevention of the use of social media by college athletes should not be implemented by college administrators because alternative solutions exist such as programs that aid coaches in controlling students’ social activities, social media is a valuable tool for student-athletes to connect with their fans and the world, and criticism is a fundamental right owned by any citizen of the United States.

As the issue of social networking in the college environment increases in difficulty, solutions to this debate have been researched, and one potential aid to coaches is the development of applications to help monitor student-athletes social media postings. Medcalf explains that Varsity Monitor is a firm that provides a computer application that allows schools to filter and identify problematic social media activity (“Policing”). Applications such as Varsity Monitor can greatly...
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