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Michigan’s Hoke No Fan Of NCAA Rules On Social Media… But The Solution’s Simple

No, this isn’t — though we do own that domain name, thank ya very much — but Michigan football coach Brady Hoke has brought up one of our favorite topics: Athletes and social media.

Turns out a Michigan player sent out a congratulatory message on Twitter to a UM commit earlier this month.  That could be a secondary NCAA violation.  (Tennessee is also currently facing a potential slap on the wrist thanks to a player’s tweet.  Sticking with UT for a moment, a former hoops player at UT once brought his own eligibility into question by mentioning a business in a YouTube clip.) has Hoke’s reaction to the mess:

“I think social media happened so quickly, and the NCAA is trying to get its head around all that stuff.  We just need to keep educating our players… and I’ll mention what they put out there and what they say.  But there’s no question something needs to happen.”

Hoke also said having to report secondary violations for tweets and texts is “wasting people’s time.”

Well, until the NCAA does open the door to any and all tweets and texts, here’s our standard suggestion: Coaches, keep your kids away from social media.

An NCAA investigation into the North Carolina football program — an investigation that cost Butch Davis and many of his assistants their jobs — began with a single player’s tweet.  One comment about partying with an agent/runner caused UNC’s improving football program to unravel.

A few coaches have created social media policies.  Fewer have banned their players from using Twitter and Facebook.  Most simply take the “I’ll deal with it if they say something stupid” tack.

And that’s dangerous.

One dumb tweet can tarnish a program’s reputation.  One bad Facebook comment could lead to an NCAA investigation that might uncover all manner of dirt.

Until the NCAA revises its rules on social media, the safest path is to ix-nay social media.

For those of you crying “First Amendment rights!” you don’t really understand the First Amendment or why it was created.  Players could still tweet if they wanted to… but they’d be subject to punishments, suspension or banishment from their athletic team.  They wouldn’t be thrown in jail.

If you disagree, you might try to tweet that your boss is an arse and see if you can use the First Amendment to save your own rear.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Further, what about all those coaches who already keep freshmen (and other players) away from the media altogether?  Barring social media would just be an extension of those policies.

The smart coaches will snuff it out until the rules change.  Those who don’t risk secondary violations and much, much worse.



John Pennington: I honestly think you might be retarded. This is the worst article I've ever read. 


"Coaches, keep your kids away from social media." And while they're not using social media like every other person their age in the known universe, coaches should stop them from fooling around with girls and partying too. Lets just make BYU's (selective) Honor Code standard across all schools. That statement is one of the more out of touch things I've ever seen in a blog; are you trying to get a newspaper job?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Interesting then that coaches are doing this very thing across the country.  Rick Pitino's Louisville team, for example, just made the Final Four... and all without Twittering.  And they didn't drop dead or anything.


On a sidenote, if this is the worst article you've ever read, you must not read much.  Judging from your photo, I'll guess most of your reading comes in 140-character blasts at a time.



John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Not sure I wrote the part about girls or partying.  Just social media.  And as some coaches HAVE put social media policies in place, I think that shows I'm not quite as out of touch as you think.


Sorry, but I see no difference between social media and coaches who tell their players to cut their hair, shave their faces, stay away from the mainstream media, adhere to a curfew, etc, etc, etc.  There are sacrifices made any time someone joins a team.  And until the NCAA changes the rules on social media, Twitter seems like a pretty small sacrifice.


But here's hoping your favorite team gets taken down over a player's tweet.  That'd learn ya.


Thanks for reading the site,



Well, I'm in law school, so I read much more than I'd probably like to admit. In honesty, my comment was directed to your mention of the First Amendment issue. After rereading what I said, I see that it unwarranted and unfair, so I apologize. I'm currently researching for a law review article the issue of social media use by NCAA athletes and whether the NCAA's restriction on speech is violative of student-athletes' First Amendment rights. Suffice it to say here, the current trend in the law is to say that the NCAA's actions don't constitute "state action" and they can, therefore, restrict the speech of student-athletes (the general rule is that our right to free speech, and all the other personal protections found in the Bill of Rights, only applies in the context of government infringement, either state or federal; however, there is an exception to the general rule that holds where a private entity is performing an activity that has been "traditionally exclusively" performed by the government, it constitutes state action and that entity will be held to the same standards as the government with regard to infringing upon our rights). See NCAA v. Tarkanian. I came here basically looking for a discussion on that issue, but, in reality, shouldn't have expected it. Again though, my comment was unwarranted, and I apologize. My bad dude. 


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