The rise of Facebook has given athletics directors plenty of sleepless -- and scandal-plagued -- nights, and it’s understandable that a college would want to keep photos of, say, team hazing rituals off the Web. But is there an unobjectionable way to accomplish that goal?
Kicking athletes off Facebook, as Kent State University briefly tried doing (The Chronicle, June 23), seems awfully harsh. Forcing them to restrict their profiles to certain friends is more reasonable. But in the eyes of some students, such a restriction contradicts the entire point of the site.
So some colleges are asking coaches to take on the role of Big Brother. At George Washington University, for example, many coaches have signed up for Facebook, and they routinely scan the social network to make sure team members are not posting anything untoward. When a member of the university’s golf team posted pictures that showed him drinking alcohol, the squad’s coach saw the photos and asked the student to take them offline, reports The GW Hatchet.
One athlete told The Hatchet that he would rather his coach monitor his Facebook profile than have that task fall to the university’s administrators. But that raises a question: Is it fair for athletics departments to patrol athletes’ Facebook profiles? Clearly, athletics directors want to protect the reputations of their institutions. But if the sponsor of a college marching band or debate society tried to restrict its members’ Facebook posts, there might be a public outcry. --Brock Read