by Megan Washington, UFSocial Contributor
It can only mean one thing as students head back to class and tailgating plans are being made; it’s time for college football!
The college football season also brings with it the constant need for fans to receive updates from their favorite teams and for fans to be able to share media regarding their favorite players and schools through the digital landscape.
Last year Oregon State became a leader in embracing the social media culture around its athletics by partnering with Wayin, a company that has assisted the school’s marketing department in showcasing fans’ tweets and photos from different social platforms on the jumbotron at Reser Stadium. The school acknowledges that this technology has allowed them to reach fans on a deeper level than before.
Following suit to enhance the game day experience, University of Florida recently upgraded its wireless signal at The Swamp to allow students easier access for sharing content from their mobile devices. The work to its distributed antenna system helped fans use data on their mobile devices in 2014, and there is a plan to upgrade to WiFi throughout their stadium in the future.
Ole Miss, on the other hand, has approached the 2015 football season differently. The school has an app available that will collect data on fans. This will allow marketers the ability to track, monitor and understand fan behavior and decisions while they are attending the games. With the app, the school has implemented a rewards program as an incentive for fan participation.
One thing that will be noticeably absent from social media is many of the athletes.
On August 3rd, Clemson put into effect a social media ban which forbids players from being active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms during the season. The intention of the ban is so that the players are able to focus on football. The Tigers are not the only team that practice a ban on social media for their players. Florida State safety Nate Andrews posted to Twitter on August 4th to let fans and followers know it was the last day players were allowed to be on social media until the season ends.
Last day we can be on social medias.
— Nate Andrews (@NateAndrews29) August 4, 2015
Some question if banning players from social media is a necessary evil. One can revisit the 2012 scandal that brought Notre Dame’s star linebacker Manti Te’o in the public eye. Te’o met a woman via Twitter in 2011 who later became his girlfriend. Turns out, the girlfriend was a sham and brought the athlete unwanted attention before the NFL draft.
Around the same time, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones took to Twitter to rant about his feelings toward schooling.
— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) April 2, 2015
In 2014, then FSU quarterback Jameis Winston was in the spotlight for his actions on social media. Winston allegedly sent an inappropriate snap to a woman that went viral.
Programs seem to be banning the use of social media so that unwanted attention is not bestowed upon them. Following the example set by the National Labor Relations Board, are these social media bans ethical or even unconstitutional?
On the other hand, there are also schools that believe that educating their athletes is a more favorable approach that can essentially be a powerful recruiting tool.
“Our Athletics Communications staff and myself meet with all of our teams during preseason camps for an educational session on social media. The presentation centers around building your personal brand, and how social media plays a big part in that,” Eric DeSalvo, Director of Digital & Social Media at the University of Central Florida said.
Some college football teams are banning their players from using social media? Basically saying you don’t trust your players. Not great
— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN) August 11, 2015