Leave it to the Head Ball Coach to cause a stir.
Over the weekend, South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier announced his players were banned from using Twitter, and a firestorm of opinion - from all sides - has ensued.
In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show today (Tuesday), Spurrier said of Twitter, "Nothing good can come of it" when asked about the ban.
That was it.
End of discussion ... as far as Spurrier is concerned.
Spurrier sounded like a person who didn't understand and didn't want to understand Twitter. And I get that. He's a football coach. Why should he care about the social media platform?
Banning Twitter is the easy, simple, stick-your-head-in-the-ground way to deal with the issue. It's not a solution, but a delay is curbing any potential problems.
(NOTE: Members of the media have differing opinions as well. Check out CNBC's Darren Rovell's piece and then compare it to CBS's Gregg Doyel's offering. Oh, and Maryland head football coach Randy Edsall says his players are allowed to tweet.)
Do 18 to 22 year-olds tweet some non-sensible stuff? Yes, yes they do. But you know what? I've seen some supposedly maturing tweeters post some "not-so-smart" items as well. Some do so on a daily basis, especially some "celebrities" on Twitter. (Tiger blood anyone?)
Banning kids from Twitter isn't the answer and won't keep them off. Ever heard of 'fake' accounts? Don't think fake accounts have much credibility or have much of a following? Think again.
In less than 24 hours, @SportsStache33 - a fake account mocking ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, went from a Klout score of 0 to 32. The account did not exist two days ago, and in less than a day, it has a Klout score of 32! Then there's @fakeNedYost, the alter ego of Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost. This fake Twitter account boasts a Klout score of 66!
What this means is an account designed to appear like a legit account but takes a tongue-in-cheek approach can reach a large audience and carry influence. What's to stop a college kid from creating a fake account of his own?
The only real solution is education. At the vast majority of NCAA D-I schools, student-athletes go through media training, where they learn the do's and don't's of how to handle themselves in front of a camera and microphone. But in reality, very few athletes get interviewed, especially in football. The media focuses largely - and almost solely - on players in the skill positions on offense and any defensive standouts. Linemen almost never see the mic, and forget about it if you down on the depth chart.
But everyone on the team can have a voice on Twitter.
For that reason, I get a coach's rush to ban Twitter all together.
If you're going to go to the trouble to train them how to handle themselves in the spotlight of the camera and local radio microphone, why not take a few extra minutes to educating on how to behave in front of the mic that is never turned off - Twitter?
Fortunately, one NCAA D-I SID has gone through the trouble of compiling a list of 50 Twitter Tips for the college athlete. Must say, Tennessee's Tom Satkowiak covered just about everything here.