A University of Kentucky student-athlete who publishes content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and/or MySpace (who really uses MySpace anymore?) that includes any 1 of 370 sports agent names will automatically have that post flagged and sent to his/her coach. It is a part of a new effort by the university to monitor student-athletes’ use of social media, protect the school from having its reputation damaged and diminish the possibility of being sanctioned by the NCAA. Mark Boxley of The Courier-Journal highlights UK’s new monitoring system and points out that many other institutions of higher education, including the University of Louisville, are implementing similar programs. UK is the first school I know of to have a database of 370 sports agents names that raise red flags, though.
As I previously stated, flagged messages will be sent to the athlete’s coach. Why the coach and not the athletic department’s compliance department? There are many people who firmly believe that coaches are involved in their players’ agent selection process. For instance, remember former UNC-Chapel Hill assistant football coach John Blake? There were suggestions that he was involved in former UNC defensive tackle (and current New York Giants DT) Marvin Austin’s agent selection process. And it has been well documented that Blake had strong ties to the deceased former football agent Gary Wichard. Is that the type of person who should be receiving notice of flagged status updates? What would that type of coach do with such information?
I asked (jokingly) on Twitter, what happens if a UK student-athlete tweets about World Wide Wes? But after thinking a little more about it, the question should probably be taken seriously. Would that phrase result in a flag? And would that message be sent to Coach Calipari? If so, what would Coach Cal do with that information?