University Of Michigan Athletes Sign Social Media Policy In Bid To Avoid Controversy As Twitter Incidents Multiply

Ann McClure's picture

For college athletes, social media use tends toward the extreme: It's either a blessing or a curse.

In the past year, two University of Michigan football players earned their team secondary NCAA violations by inadvertently tweeting at a recruit; a third-string Ohio State quarterback became infamous when he tweeted that classes are "pointless;" and a top-rated recruit lost his chance to play with the Wolverines after he authored sexually and racially charged tweets.

These few Twitter snafus eclipse the tens of thousands of 140-character notes sent each day that reflect well on college athletes. "When blaming others you give up the power to change," Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson tweeted to his 50,000-plus followers in September.

But such positive tweets are rarely the ones that stick with people — it's the mistakes that fans never forget. That's part of the reason U-M's athletic department formalized its social media practices this fall.

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