Schools are cracking down on student-athletes using social media.
While there has been no serious cases at Florida A&M, many other colleges and universities around the nation have taken the precautionary steps to prevent such issues.
In 2012, two Big 12 conference schools were under fire because of tweets from student-athletes. An Ohio State University quarterback became the topic of discussion when he tweeted classes are “pointless.”
On two separate occasions, the University of Michigan fell subject to NCAA violations. Two football players made headlines when they tweeted a recruit. And UM stopped recruiting a high school football player after his racially and sexually fueled tweets.
According to annarbor.com, UM set regulations and guidelines for student-athletes, such as not tweeting out of emotion, tweeting offensive language or tweeting during class.
If the terms are broken, the student-athlete is in violation of team policy and can be suspended as a result.
David Duncan, a starting pitcher for the FAMU baseball team, agreed that the NCAA should punish student-athletes with negative posts.
“You’re representing more than just yourself,” Duncan said. “You’re also representing your school and family. You just have to make smart decisions when you’re dealing with social networks.”
Many student-athletes feel their personal Twitter and Facebook pages belong to them and that they should be able to say what they want.
Athletes are held to a different standard at colleges and universities. Arianna Stewart, first baseman for the Lady Rattlers softball team, feels that some of the backlash is outrageous and unfair.
“Athletes are always in the public eye, so of course people are always going to pay close attention to everything they post,” Stewart said. “At times it can seem unfair, but everyone should be accountable for the things that go up on social media.”
Both Stewart and Duncan said they keep their social media posts to a minimum. Duncan said he only puts up action pictures from his games while Stewart said she uses her social media to keep in touch with friends, although she also keeps her posts to a minimum.
Ashanti Shepherd, a right fielder on FAMU’s softball team, said she uses social networks quite a bit, but she does not let it interfere with her game or her studies. Shepherd said she rarely tweets during game day and never during class.
“I can’t lie,” Shepherd said. “I love Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But I have great self-control. I know when to give it a break.”