The role of social media in college athletics

Submitted by killerseafood3 on November 26th, 2017 at 9:04 PM

With recent events being in the news:

1. Schiano deal to UT is pulled due to backlash

2. Mgoblog posts being disabled

I'm curious what everyone thinks about the role of social media (Twitter, message boards, snapchat, etc..) in college athletics going forward? I find it fascinating that backlash (right or wrong) essentially killed a coaching hire at a P5 school.

I'm certainly guilty of being an ass, posting stuff I shouldn't, etc.. If you were the coach of a big time university, would you outlaw social media with your team? Is there any benefit to Joe Schmo having a direct pipeline via Twitter to your team members?

Could you ignore it if you were an AD? Hell, even the talking heads full of hot takes in the media - is this a true game changer in how long a coach has to 'prove their worth'?


Occam's Razor

November 26th, 2017 at 9:13 PM ^

Social Media helped Michigan fire Dave Brandon leading to Hackett leading to Harbaugh. 

It's a good, albeit a tad extreme, gauge of fan approval. 


Michigan was the laughing stock of the nation when Brian led the march on the Diag. Luckily, it worked out for us. 


Couzen Rick's

November 26th, 2017 at 9:10 PM ^

I recall a certain Michigan AD that ended up resigning at least in part due to a social media push.

It's a tough deal for coaches and ADs especially. It is a very effective tool to get your program's branding out there, however is disastrous if used incorrectly. I don't think you can 100% ignore/outlaw it, as college athletics is ultimately a mode of entertainment and you risk becoming out of touch with the goings on in the CFB world. .

It's an incredibly powerful tool, I'm just not sure it's always used correctly.


November 26th, 2017 at 9:11 PM ^

I think it would be tough to outlaw social media in a football program. Kids grow up with Twitter accounts now, and asking them to delete their accounts is a stretch. Then imagine telling 16-, 17-, and 18-year-old kids that they can't use social media for 3-5 years while they're in college. That would kill a lot of recruitments, or at least be a strike against those coaches.

All you can do is manage social media the best you can and hold players accountable for what they post.


November 27th, 2017 at 12:17 PM ^

I don't know why you're getting negged. Maybe people 50 and over? I work with teenagers and a ton of them love their instagram, twitter, etc. Asking them to just drop their social media accounts while in college is a non-starter and will cause us to lose some recruitments. A 17 year old will hear "Ok come to play for us, but don't have fun"


November 27th, 2017 at 8:47 AM ^

Tennessee would hire Satan himself if he was a good coach. I want to believe they didn't want him because of his connection, but I don't see it.
A. The Tennessee AD hasn't even been there a year, even considering him makes him look like an idiot
B. He's a supposed douche
C. Even if Tennessee didn't want him because of the ties to the scandal, the perception of them is now that the inmates are running the asylum and fans will flip out over anyone not named Gruden. This is gonna be a tough one for them to climb out of.


November 27th, 2017 at 9:07 AM ^

Yeah, I pretty much think the Sandusky connection is an excuse for them to flip out over getting a mediocre coach whose name wasn't Gruden.  They've built up a couple decades' worth of a delusional track record down there in Knoxville.

And the whole thing isn't even based on much.  It's literally one sentence worth of hearsay that has Schiano reporting child abuse (and being rather shocked by it according to the same witness testimony), not covering it up, but neither going real far in sounding every alarm bell he could find.  I think it's a pretty tenuous link - or at least, not as strong as the UT diehards are trumpeting.

Let's see how they react to the next choice.  Schiano's not a very exciting hire but I suspect it'll be hard for them to do better.


November 26th, 2017 at 9:12 PM ^

Disabling the posts may have been a good idea because everyone including me is emotional after a game and people make the stupidest posts sometimes. With that said this is a blog we should be free to express our opinions as long as our words aren’t hurting someone for something other then the play on the field or the court


November 26th, 2017 at 9:16 PM ^

You are free to express your frustrations and opinions all you want.

That doesn't mean Brian has to give you a platform to do so.

I can't just take over the loudspeaker at WalMart and spout off my political opinions because I want to. I can stand on the street corner and say whatever I want about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or the McRib.

If you want thousands of people to see what you have to say, then you should create a blog that gets thousands of visitors. Otherwise, you're at the mercy of your limited reach.


November 26th, 2017 at 9:23 PM ^


I can't imagine the mentions Brian / Ace / LSAClassof2000 / etc.. have to deal with, let alone someone like JOK or Coach Harbaugh.. I understand why a coach would want a presence on Twitter, but I could not manage my own account. Dealing with the insanity that most of humanity is, especially after a loss no less, would be ... well, it would not be fun.

Robbie Moore

November 26th, 2017 at 9:33 PM ^

Unfortunately people think they can go anywhere and say anything know...First Amendment. Thing is, this is Brian's blog. He owns it. And he has every right to control what appears in the blog for that reason alone. The internet is a big place. Got a problem with Brian start your own blog. And then we can see if you can create content anyone wants to read.


November 26th, 2017 at 9:46 PM ^


Your analogy is pretty weak, honestly man. It would only be comparable if WalMart was in the habit of letting customers commandeer their loudspeaker all day every day to discuss their daily obessions, and then suddenly put it in a big lock box with no note or anyone to tell you why. Which is ridiculous, but so is your analogy. 

I thought it was a little bit petty to take away the place where everyone is accustomed to come to vent after tough games, with no notice or explanation. It's clearly his, and Brian can do as he pleases, but he should consider that the site has become bigger than just Brian. 

Just sayin. 

Edit: And I say this as someone who has a near zero tolerance for idiots. I get the frustration. I understand. I generally avoid this place for at least a day after a tough loss, usually a couple days. The commentary here has become a stinking cesspool, and something other than just shutting it down should be done to address it. 


November 26th, 2017 at 10:47 PM ^

I didn't spell out my point. All I was saying is that there is zero room to discuss the legal idea of free speech in this case, but you can discuss the moral idea because it isn't black and white (as Tim made, IMO, a valid case in his response to Magnus).


November 27th, 2017 at 8:00 AM ^

My response would be where to draw this ethical line for accepting commentary on the board?  One of the biggest reasons I come here to get news and discuss all things Michigan is because Brian has set the bar for posting on the board a few notches above "Anything Goes".

I don't think I'm the only one who has noticed the significant uptick in unfamiliar usernames and low point totals that have been pouring onto the board this year after Michigan losses; probably growing beyond the ability of the mods to effectively manage.  If shutting down the site for a day every now and then is that price that has to be paid for keeping this place from turning into MLive, then so be it.

The Mad Hatter

November 27th, 2017 at 11:21 AM ^

This site is paid for via advertising revenue and I'll bet the traffic fell off a cliff when the comments were turned off.  Do that too often and advertisers are going to notice.

Especially on the day/night of the OSU game.  I'd be willing to bet that's one of the site's biggest days for pageviews each year.

If I was an advertiser, I'd be pissed.


November 26th, 2017 at 10:02 PM ^

I've thought about this..worth kicking around.

Let's say these forums could be improved, and still allow for a place to vent, to discuss, etc..

What would you change?

I think disabling comments during the weekend may be a good idea. The liveblog still allows a place to discuss in-game action and it could have saved me from posting all sorts of nonsense in the in-game thread (but that's my problem).

Is it going the route of requiring payment? Some type of verification where you have to tie your userID to your phone number to 'activate' your userID (similar to how Gmail can work)? This would make it a lot harder for banned accounts to sign right back up.. Google voice numbers can be a real pain in the ass to get now a days,



November 27th, 2017 at 6:10 AM ^

It's not the comments that’s the problem, it's the shit people are saying in them. When you have thousands of fans saying somebody should go kill their self or the various other bs people post it truly does matter. I mean we all might be strangers to the players for the most part but that doesn't mean a damn thing. Think about how being in public some stranger said or did something stupid that made you react in a way that u normally wouldn't. Wilton received death threats and people have absolutely trashed O'Korn over the weekend. Imagine being these kids parents and seeing what grown ass people are saying to your kid. I saw somebody post that O'Korn was a grown ass man at 23 or something. If anybody truly thinks they were a man at 23 and they had it all figured out they are full of shit! I mean plain and simple if 1 of us fans told a certain player to go kill their self and they did something stupid we and whoever said that would feel pretty damn awful. I compare the OSU game to 1 of us breaking up with a GF and then 10,000+ people telling you how much u suck ass imagine what you might do.


November 27th, 2017 at 1:02 PM ^

I mean was it really that bad? I didn't see anything I thought was all too outrageous, but I wasn't exactly reading through every single comment. The mods seemed to be doing a good job and there weren't a million snowflake threads like there have been in the past. I think it was an emotional overreaction, but whatever. It was an emotionally charged night.

I do think the tendancy to shit on "the fans" has become a favorite pastime for a lot of bloggers. Not surprising, since a lot of fans do say some really shitt stuff, but it's a small percentage on this site. The Michigan fanbase is not that fundamentally different than most other fanbases out there and if anything, they are far more reasonable. Ace saying the fans are the "worst thing" about this program is just sanctimonious drivel. I mean really, how surprising is it the fans are upset? This program is 1-13 against OSU the past 14 years. That's over half my lifetime.


November 26th, 2017 at 11:52 PM ^

He asked me why my girlfriend doesn't fix his teeth after calling him out on shutting down comments. It wasn't even that bad. I think it was worse after MSU honestly. How many other college football fansites just shut down because the owner doesnt like negative comments? Totally pathetic, and a pathetic response to me insulting my girlfriend. Act like an adult dude. For someone that dug up all the stupid shit Dave Brandon said he acts just like him.


November 27th, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

So I absolutely think "don't tweet at people, ever" is a good rule to live by.

That said, obviously not everyone agrees with that, and Brian is, for all intents and purposes, a public figure.  And when public figures do something controversial or unpopular, they gon' get tweeted at.  Doesn't mean I agree with doing so or what people say in those tweets, or even that I think "why do you need to be on Twitter" is not a legitimate question.

Still, it's going to happen.  Might not like it, but realpolitik says Brian should basically expect to be bothered.


November 27th, 2017 at 2:58 PM ^

Yeah, I went to the Twitter machine and saw that. That's not cool at all. I don't see it as any different than the people that Brian is excoriating on the front page post, really. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, then you probably shouldn't say it on social media either. 

You Only Live Twice

November 26th, 2017 at 10:30 PM ^

that's an interesting comment.  You contributed to how "bad" the messages were yesterday.  I just skimmed some of the posts.  Even in the post I'm replying to, you can't resist the urge to blast a Michigan player as if it ever makes sense to pin a loss on one player.  And oh what a shock, which game?  The 2015  MSU game.  I know what fanbase you are from.  You give yourself away over and over.