College athletic departments across the nation face-off with Facebook
By Mark Schulman
Around the Campus Assistant Editor
There has been a growing concern nationwide over collegiate student-athletes and their conduct on social networks like facebook.com.
Facebook is a website that allows students to create a profile where they can display their personal information that includes phone numbers and residing addresses.
They can also post photographs and this is where university athletic departments around the country have stepped in.
Athletic departments are finding out that some of their athletes on Facebook.com may not be conducting themselves in a manner that represents the student body, athletic department, or university.
Many universities have implemented policies for their student-athletes elaborating on the already existing good conduct clause in the contract that they sign.
University of Kentucky told 500 of their athletes to erase material on their Facebook profiles that is not in the university’s best interest.
Baylor University did the same after one of its athletes was contacted by a professional agent through the Facebook message system.
Dozens of other universities nationwide have generated policies to get ahead of the curve in this virgin technology before the NCAA brings the hammer down.
NCAA student athletes have fallen to gamblers, bookies, agents and have received threats from rival collegiate athletes.
UNCP currently does not have a specific policy for the behavior of student-athletes regarding social networks like Facebook. Although, there is a general clause stating that student athletes should not engage in inappropriate behavior.
“It appears that there is a national movement to explore student involvement with websites such as facebook.com and others,” UNCP Athletic Director Dan Kenney said.
“I have been informed that UNCP students, faculty, staff, and UNCP student-athletes have accounts with facebook.com but I have never visited the website.”
Censorship may not be the answer to this epidemic but students need to be educated on the consequences of divulging their personal life to the world.
First and foremost, the students’ safety is compromised by giving the world their addresses, daily schedules, phone numbers and other personal information.
There reputation, as well as the university’s may be scrutinized after viewing some of the material that is posted on a Facebook profile.
“I hope that if our students, staff and faculty are using this website that their choices in what content to post are appropriate and positively reflects on them and UNCP," Kenney said.
According to Facebook.com, it is primarily an online directory that connects people through social networks at schools.
Students can look up other students, see how they may or may not know each other and it lets students find others through class schedules, organizations and other groups.
Anyone with an .edu email address can register on Facebook including faculty and alumni.
This social network can be found in nearly 3000 colleges and universities and six months ago added high schools to its networking system.
On the individual’s profile page there is a “wall” that allows people to post messages and there is an e-mail system so people can communicate privately.
There is also a plethora of personal information that students have the option to reveal about themselves.
This allows students from government associations to religious organizations to athletics to post whatever they want.
There is definitely a personal safety issue concerning how much information students divulge to the public.
Sexual predators and identity thieves target people on Facebook.
People need to remind themselves that Facebook is not an exclusive network where only friends and peers share information and photographs.
Employers, professors, coaches and police often troll through the network to catch students in illicit behavior. Police investigators have used this technology in investigating crimes.
Students also should be aware that an internship opportunity may fall through the cracks because the employer, who may have access to Facebook, may not agree with the activities that the potential intern displays on the network.
There are privacy options but it defeats the purpose of belonging to a social network.
Facebook and similar sites have revolutionized the social structure of educational institutions and, if used properly, can enhance student experiences.
By joining the Athletic Family at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke you not only become a representative of your team but of the entire university.
Entering a university setting allows you more freedom in what choices you make about your lifestyle.
Please remember that all choices have consequences.
At UNCP we have high expectations that the choices you make will positively reflect on yourself, your team, and university.