Just set boundaries
The Morning Call
South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, Boise State's Chris Petersen and Kansas' Turner Gill all have banned their athletes from using Twitter. But a better option for a coach — college or pro — would be to set parameters regarding Twitter.
While many athletes are cognizant of the ramifications that their online opinions may have, a few forget they are representing their team or school. Those few should not ruin social networking for all athletes.
Coaches can significantly cut down on questionable statements from players by restricting tweets to G-rated remarks that refrain from mentioning any team or sport-related issue.
Twitter is a great platform to help bring fans closer to the game — provided athletes are aware of the consequences.
Don't take easy way out
Los Angeles Times
This isn't Oceania, George Orwell's socialistic dictatorship in "1984," and it's not North Korea or a liberty-less Middle East tyrannical state, either.
This is America, and I'm a First Amendment fan. So, I'd tell my players, tweet away.
But do it, as with everything else, carefully and thoughtfully. Big Brother may not be watching, but everyone else is, so act as you would act in public if your mother was present.
Some coaches take the easy way out by banning all social media, arguing it's a distraction and that it hurts the program.
But social media is a lame scapegoat. Pathetic, really. These are "student" athletes, right? Then let them learn how to use Twitter, which isn't some fad, and teach them when they make a mistake.
Tweets have an upside
There is a fine line to be walked with Twitter. Certainly nobody wants players to make embarrassing comments that reflect poorly on themselves or the team.
Still, for the most part athletes should be able to be regular college students, and that now includes communicating with friends through social networks.
There is an added bonus to letting players tweet. It tears down the walls between the fans and athletes, which can make the game more enjoyable for those fans. Letting players use Twitter is a fantastic way to promote a sport and a team for no cost. Some schools now have people who monitor Twitter feeds, and that is not a terrible thing. Players should have guidelines to follow for Twitter just like they have guidelines on how they are expected to act in public.
Make it mandatory
Are you kidding? I would force my players to use Twitter. Facebook is a time-waster, like eating iceberg lettuce for nutritional value. Twitter is knowledge. And knowledge is power.
Now, if I had players who were dumb enough to tweet things like, "our RB just snapped his hammy" or "mr. such and such jus paid for my ink," we'd have a problem. But coaches should not fear technology. They should embrace it.
Have their players follow Northwestern's @brian_peters10 and @Mr_Mabin.
Peters uses Twitter to show his personality: "Excited bout the Boston accent I picked up while playin BC today. Watch out ladies."
Jordan Mabin used it Saturday to thank NU fans: "Gotta love seeing purple in the stands!!!! #GoCats."