Bob Sullivan wrote a great post a few days ago about Facebook and student athlete. The department of corrections facilities as well as division I athletic programs are demanding access to the employees and students Facebook accounts respectively.
To make a long story short, many people, particularly the ACLU are outraged. The arguments range from, “it is the university’s job to educate-not spy” to “we still have a Constitution to protect us. It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their e-mail” according to Bradley Shear, a lawyer.
On the other hand, these athletes are now representing their University, their family and their coaches. I mean, self-expression is important in this country but, why can’t some of the athlete’s potential employees just be more careful about what they post on social media? Is it asking too much for people to refrain from posting anything questionable?
From a law standpoint, this is a classic example of Prior Restraint or the prevention of material being disseminated. However, I cannot stress how important it is that employees and athletes, no matter what level of skill should not be posting information that casts the institution into a negative light.
I will agree that asking for the password and username data from the student-athlete and the employee might be a too far, but I don’t see any issue with requiring a “friend request” from the coach as a means of monitoring inappropriate online activity. I think is a good way to teach these young men and women a valuable life lesson.
Playing athletics at the collegiate level is absolutely a privilege. According to Bob Sullivan, “There have been many high-profile embarrassing moments born of the toxic combination of student-athletes and Twitter” According to Bob Sullivan.