Are you Jim Boeheim or Dave Rice?
UPDATE: This video has been made private or removed by CBS Sports. Attempts to locate another version have turned up empty. If you have a link to this video, please leave a comment.
CBS Sports posted this video the other day. Several head coaches weigh in on social media and the attitude they maintain about their players using the communication tools.
Syracuse Head Coach, Jim Boeheim stood out with his response, “I don’t even know what it is.” Followed by, “It’d be hard to adjust that, wouldn’t it?” He went on to comment that while he does carry a cell phone, he does not have a computer. It’s as though he was saying the topic is of no interest to him and he has no desire to learn or care.
Contrast that with a few of the other answers.
John Thompson III of Georgetown admitted that he knows that social media is part of life, but that he does not understand why it is important to post that you are at a pizza joint enjoying a slice of pizza. Understood. With some education and guidance, student-athletes can develop a purposeful content plan that is far more engaging than pizza slices.
Kevin Willard of Seton Hall wants his athletes to develop communication skills, so once the the team enters the building/practice facility, they must speak to each other and folks in the building. Cells phones are turned off and no texting or tweeting allowed. I’m sure everyone can appreciate those goals and rules.
“Teachable moments” is how Jim Christian at Texas Christian University sees social media. He says, “As opposed to just restricting them, you know, sometimes they have to make bad decisions in order to learn. And I think that’s what college is all about.” Here, here, Jim. You have a good attitude. We are working with young adults who are finding their way in this world, and who, unlike most of us in our college days, have any number of methods to shout out to the world. They are human, and yes, they are bound to make some mistakes. I’m glad to see that TCU allows the student-athletes to learn from their mistakes.
I was most impressed with Dave Rice, head coach of the men’s basketball team at UNLV. He teaches his players to use social media for the positive. He wants his players to uplift their teammates, to talk about the great experience they are having at UNLV. He is cognisant of the risks and the possibility that certain issues may need to be addressed, but ultimately, and this is why I appreciate him the most, he says, “I really believe in the importance of empowering student-athletes, making it a part of the education process and really using social media in a positive way.”
Can I get a WOO HOO?!?! As a head coach or athletic director, you may fall in to Jim Boeheim’s camp and not have the first clue what social media is and how it works. But I hope that you will adopt the attitude of John Thompson III and understand that social media is a BIG part of our world and a way of life for the student-athletes you are responsible for fostering. Be like Kevin Willard and set reasonable policies and guidelines which allow the students to utilize these tools, but in appropriate ways and at appropriate times, with a desire to build good old fashion personalities and communication skills.
Be like Jim Christian and take a positive approach to these communication channels and work with your student-athletes to navigate difficult speed bumps so they can survive the experience and learn from their mistakes.
Finally, and most importantly, lead with integrity, like Dave Rice and provide a foundation of trust in your athletes. Encourage them to develop good communication skills, craft good content and use social media for social good. It can be done. Educating and uplifting your students with supportive social media guidelines is absolutely essential in creating the best student-athlete experience. You’ll develop young adults with good character who care about their online profiles and take care to manage their reputation. Well-rounded and socially confident student-athletes better represent the university and are more motivated to be good representatives.
Who do you most identify with in this video? What attitude has your university adopted?