COLUMN: OU football needs social-media policy
Reina Lyons, The Oklahoma Daily
EDITOR'S NOTE: In the print edition of The Daily, sophomore wide receiver Jaz Reynolds' status with the football team was incorrectly stated. Reynolds was suspended for the 2010 season and is still an active member of the football team.
If the media and college football student-athletes had a relationship status on Facebook, it would be “it’s complicated.”
Any interactions between the two are closely watched by the athletic department and coaching staff.
Any interactions except on social media, like Twitter.
As of Monday afternoon at OU’s spring practice press conference, coach Bob Stoops said the team does not have a social-media policy for its players but said he’s going to make one.
“Guys that don’t know what they’re doing need to have it taken away,” Stoops said. “Some of the just really foolish things that are thrown at me that so-and-so had this on their Twitter is hard to believe. It’s hard to believe they don’t get it. They still think they’re at East Handkerchief High School, where no one cares. And that’s not the case.”
Earlier this month, we at The Daily experienced firsthand the lack of rules for players with social media.
A pair of Twitter-savy freshmen voiced issues with two columns published by The Daily on March 1 and 3.
The first, a column about junior defensive back Jamell Fleming being suspended from school for academic misconduct, was met with a mild response.
The second, a column about Sports Illustrated’s investigation into top-tier football players with criminal records, received a more poignant response.
The Daily is used to criticism; it comes with the job. However, if the university wants to protect these players’ images and reputations, OU needs to draw up a social-media policy.
But the players aren’t just lobbing barbs at the paper. A few have turned critical of their fellow student-athletes.
Junior tight end Trent Ratterree posted this tweet March 1: “The lady gymnasts emailing everyone in their classes begging for fans. @OUProblems”
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program is ranked fifth in the country and finished the regular season undefeated with a bid to the NCAA tournament.
After Tommy Mason-Griffin’s very poor grammatical Facebook status announcing his intentions to enter the NBA draft last spring and sophomore wide receiver Jaz Reynolds getting suspended for a tweet about the University of Texas shootings, OU should have put social-media guidelines in place.
Fortunately, Stoops said one’s coming, just not soon enough.
— James Corley, journalism senior