Category Archives: Social Media Is The Devil’s Playground

“Coach, that’s entrapment.”

What do you wanna bet that Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t the only college head coach who’s done this?

New Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury made a lot of eyes roll when it was revealed this spring that he plans on giving his players regular “cell phone breaks” so they check in with family and friends or scour their favorite social media sites.

It’s something he allowed back in college when he was the head coach at Texas Tech and he said it not only helped break up the monotony of team meetings, it served as a way to improve his players’ attention.

Well, maybe there’s a secret reason why he’s letting his NFL players have the same privilege.

During an August 2016 appearance on “The HawkCast” podcast with then-Atlanta Falcons linebacker A.J. Hawk, Kingsbury openly revealed he and his Texas Tech coaches would set up fake social media accounts using “cute girls” as avatars to spy on their players.

That’s right, spy.

“We have fake accounts with cute girls that they add right now so we can see what’s going on, who’s tweeting what,” Kingsbury said at the time. “Those are heavily monitored, for sure.”

… When asked if he thought his players at Texas Tech might have been aware of the spying, Kingsbury told Hawk, “I think they do, but they can’t resist that. Friend requests from cute girls are an automatic follow.”

As the saying goes, it’s undefeated.



Filed under Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

The problem with SEC officiating, in two paragraphs

Via Ross Dellenger:

The league sees what you tweet. Vincent and Chuck Dunlap, the conference’s director of communication, are responsible for monitoring social media on Saturdays in the fall, identifying viral moments surrounding SEC football games. “Chuck might identify, ‘Twitter universe went crazy in Knoxville! What’s going on?’” Shaw says. This begins a process of evaluation that often results in Shaw crafting a statement that might never be published…

… And all SEC officials are part-timers; Shaw himself worked at BellSouth and then AT&T while he served as a head referee for 15 years. The day jobs for SEC refs range from teacher to salesman, from insurance agent to small business owner. The SEC pays its officials about $3,000 a game, Shaw says, but that number can vary.

So the conference feels sensitive enough about the job to track the real time social media outrage of every Tom, Dick and Bubba, yet pays its officials at a level that would make a rational human being question why bother doing a job that motivates the higher ups to track the real time social media outrage of every Tom, Dick and Bubba.

This is what you get when you leave the management of something important to a bunch of cheap bastards.


Filed under SEC Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

I saw it on the Internet, so it must be binding.

Andy Staples has a suggestion to fix college football recruiting.  No, not this one:  I still believe that eliminating signing day entirely and allowing schools to sign players at any point in high school…”

This one:

Allow schools to publicize when they’ve offered a player a scholarship.

He offers several rationales for doing so which range from possibly relevant (“Some of them [schools] wouldn’t offer so many players”) to irrelevant (“No recruit would lie about getting an offer, either”).

There’s a third one that’s certainly well meaning, but I’m not sure how much real world effect it would have.

• It would turn up the heat on coaches who pull offers.

Go back and look at the Clemson offer that receiver Justyn Ross posted (and ultimately accepted). It’s full of disclaimers. He must qualify academically. He must continue to demonstrate good character. He must “continue to display the athletic characteristics consistent with a Clemson Tiger.” In other words, he must keep being good at football. Most scholarship offer letters—though not all social media offer graphics—contain this sort of language. And it’s perfectly understandable if a coach pulls an offer because a player is flunking classes or balloons to 400 pounds or knocks over a liquor store or waits to commit until the team has filled its allotment at the player’s position. What isn’t so understandable is when a player has an offer and commits months before signing day and then gets told there is no room for him in the class shortly before signing day. If the coach liked the player enough to post the scholarship and the player didn’t do anything that ran afoul of the disclaimers, the coach had better have a really good explanation for why he has no scholarship for the player. This could keep players from getting squeezed at the end of the process.  [Emphasis added.]

In response to the highlighted portion of that, so what?  Does anyone really think Bobby Petrino would care?  What about any coach on the proverbial hot seat who has a chance to displace a three-star for a better option at the last minute?

Every once in a while, we hear about high school coaches who get ticked off at a college coach for ditching one of his kids at the last moment — Spurrier did it a few seasons ago and Smart did it a couple of years ago.  I’m not sure how a school posting a scholarship offer publicly is going to shame a coach into sticking with it.  Most coaches are pretty shameless when it comes to recruiting.

What are y’all’s thoughts?


Filed under Recruiting, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Accountability in an age of social media

Like I posted the other day, it’s good that the SEC is concerned about making sure the product isn’t perceived as having a fixed outcome.  Transparency isn’t a bad thing, generally speaking.  But this Steve Shaw quote, from Seth Emerson’s piece about football officiating ($$), does give me some pause about how far the conference should take things.

Fans may want blood when it comes to blown calls. But Shaw still wants to keep that quiet, not broadcasting it when an official is fired, demoted or suspended. That’s where the idea of transparency may have its limits.

That’s the worry in all this: Good officials will be afraid to stay in their jobs if their personal information is being blasted out on social media, their name dragged through the mud. That’s a legitimate worry. The answer to that isn’t to simply get the calls right. They can still get calls right and have irrational fans get angry at them.

In fact, the social media reaction is causing a problem recruiting younger officials, according to Shaw, which isn’t affecting the quality of officiating right now, but could eventually.

“They say, I don’t want any part of that,” Shaw said. “That’s something we’ve got to overcome.”

Honestly, I can’t say I blame them, considering the shit shows that routinely crop up in social media.  People get hot about political issues, but from a passion standpoint, blown football calls run pretty close.  Shaw’s got a tricky set of priorities to balance there.


Filed under SEC Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

“I knew how to work the game.”

Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  the NCAA doesn’t allow student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, likeness and image, but has no problem allowing them to promote the use of their name, likeness and image.

Snell is part of a growing number of college athletes capitalizing on their popularity. The NCAA prevents athletes from endorsing products or being paid by sponsors, but they’re allowed to turn themselves into online personalities. And that helps lay the groundwork for future deals.

It’s a trend that Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl, has noticed over the past few years. By building a personal brand in college, athletes “can really monetize themselves when they become professionals, rather than start from scratch in whatever NFL city they end up in,” said Nagy, a former NFL scout.

Evidently, it’s not spending time commercializing yourself that’s a problem.  It’s getting to the commercially viable stage while you’re still in school that is.

The really perverse twist to this is that schools are starting to take advantage of it.  No, really.

INFLCR was founded in 2017 by Jim Cavale, a former college baseball player who felt NCAA athletes were losing out on a golden opportunity to leverage their stardom. Schools pay between $10,000 and $50,000 per year for the service, and in return athletes receive approved content on their phones right after a game or practice. The service uses the professional cameramen that schools already employ.

“Athletic departments are often so focused on the return on investment, which to them means ticket sales or merchandise sales,” Cavale said. “Our service is a different kind of play. This is about recruiting, reaching a wider audience, and a better student-athlete experience. It’s a bit more abstract.”

Schools are coming around to the idea. Kentucky bought the Snell Yeah trademark and website, then transferred both to the running back after he left school. Guy Ramsey, who oversees the Wildcats’ website and social media, said the department’s approach has evolved over the past few years to become more collaborative. The school understands that its athletes reach an audience that the Wildcats’ accounts often miss.

“It even dips into recruiting,” Ramsey said. “It’s difficult to get a recruit to follow your brand account sometimes. But if you have an ambassador putting content out through their own personal lens, that’s then a reflection of our own brand.”

So there it is:  kids, you can have the brand.  You just can’t have the money.

I’m sure this makes sense to somebody.  I’m not sure how they keep a straight face about it, though.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, The NCAA

Nothing ever dies on Twitter.

The latest to learn that is Tech’s assistant head coach Brent Key.

Georgia Tech senior defensive lineman Brandon Adams passed away suddenly on Saturday. Police said the 21-year-old collapsed near campus, and was taken by friends to a local hospital, where he died. Tributes to the young man poured in, and you can read many of them here, from his teammates and coaches and school administrators.

And then there’s Yellow Jackets associate head coach and offensive line coach Brent Key, who spent almost one and a half sentences remembering Adams before being overcome by excitement over this weekend’s commitment of a four-star cornerback prospect.

Key’s tweet, flooded by replies pointing out how bad an idea it was and how this was probably not the time to remind everyone about the interchangeability of college football players, was deleted just before noon today.

I’m sure he meant well.  About recruiting, anyway.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Sensitive, sensitive

So, it seems this three-year old tweet was making the rounds again this weekend.

Sure, some folks didn’t notice the original date, but the NCAA seems to have passed over the whole it-was-a-dumb-thing-to-post-in-the-first-place aspect of that, because it ignored the First Rule of Holes and kept right on digging.

The NCAA ought to put Stacey Osburn in charge of editing Inside the NCAA.


Filed under Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, The NCAA