Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 30 March 2012

Tracking Athletes Online as Legal Red Flags Flutter - Major universities like to keep an online eye on their athletes -

Tracking Athletes Online as Legal Red Flags Flutter - Major universities like to keep an online eye on their athletes - 

The business plan of Varsity Monitor is simple. Major universities like North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma pay $7,000 to $10,000 a year and Varsity Monitor keeps an online eye on their athletes.
Enlarge This Image

Among the services the company and others like it provide is a computer application that searches social media sites that athletes are active on, looking for obscenities, offensive commentary or words like “free,” which could indicate that a player has accepted a gift in violation of N.C.A.A. rules.

“Every school, we work to customize their keyword list,” said Sam Carnahan, the chief executive of Varsity Monitor, which has offices in Seattle and New York and also provides educational programs to universities. “We look for things that could damage the school’s brand and anything related to their eligibility.” 

Yet what may look to some like a business opportunity, and to universities and their athletic departments like due diligence, appears to others to be an invasion of privacy.

“I think it’s violating the Constitution to have someone give up their password or user name,” said Ronald N. Young, a Maryland state senator who has sponsored a bill aimed at stopping universities from monitoring athletes digitally. “It’s like reading their mail or listening to their phone calls.”

The debate on college campuses mirrors the larger conversation throughout the country over how much access to personal online activities private individuals can be compelled to give to employers. University administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to players on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant tweet or Facebook posting could result in trouble for an athlete or the athletic department. On March 12, North Carolina’s football program received a one-year bowl ban and lost 15 scholarships after an N.C.A.A. investigation that was spurred by a Twitter message sent by a player.

Read more -

No comments:

Post a Comment