Loading the content...
Navigation
Tag archives for:

university athletics

SB 1349 Protects Privacy for Student-Athletes

You’ve all read by now that California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed the SB 1349 bill, which prohibits public and private universities from requiring students or prospective students to disclose their user names or passwords to social-media sites. The governor’s office says the law “is designed to stop a growing trend of colleges and universities snooping into student social-media accounts, particularly those of student-athletes.”

This is terrific news. What a wonderful way to urge athletic departments to take a pro-active approach to social media. It changes the department strategy from monitoring what student-athletes say to educating student-athletes how to use social media in a positive and purposeful way. It takes the program from crisis prevention mode to leadership academy.

Athletic programs which provide student-athletes with social media education, are working to improve their players’ communication skills. This type of education can help athletes understand how to build their professional profile, act with self-respect and encourages them to cross-promote other sports, and be positive examples, leaders in social media.  It is very much like media training and preparing them for print and television interviews. But social media has a much more immediate and expansive impact than traditional media. Social media permeates every aspect of a student-athlete’s life.

Empowering student-athletes, as well as coaches and staff, to serve as brand ambassadors will have a far more positive impact on loyalty to the department, willingness to achieve specific goals and will produce a much higher ROI. Educating the entire department can effect not only what staff, coaches and athletes say, but when implemented with strategy, can impact ticket sales, community outreach, donor cultivation and improve recruitment efforts. No matter what goal a department may have, communication strategies, which integrate social media, can work to achieve those goals. Monitoring social media does not drive revenue. Enabling staff, coaches and athletes to embrace social media and actively use these networks, uplifting them as brand ambassadors will drive revenue where needed.

It was former student-athlete and Michigan quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who said at the NCAA Convention in January 2012, that the more support they were provided as student-athletes, the more they wanted to give back to the program. And that’s key. Many athletic programs forget that their student-athletes really want to serve as good representatives of the university and are searching for ways they can respond to that demand. When you choose to monitor your athlete communication, your are essentially telling them that you do not trust them and they are not capable of handling the responsibility of representing the university. That’s not a message well-received by students. And fortunately, it’s not a message they will have to hear any longer.

I’m thankful that California stepped up as a leader on this topic and passed the SB 1349 bill. There is no benefit to operating in a reactive mode and positioning your department as big brother over student-athletes. These “kids” are young adults who are attending an academic institution and are keen to learn how to improve their lives. Athletic programs can serve to enhance the academic experience student-athletes enjoy by providing social media education. These are life and leadership skills that effectively make them a better, more well-rounded player and more able to contribute significantly to the athletic program.

Beaming Bohemian consults with university athletic departments to establish social media guidelines, educate staff, coaches and student-athletes, and implement smart communication strategies which work to achieve specific goals. Every athletic department is looking to drive revenue. Beaming Bohemian can help you take advantage of social communication tools to do just that. Contact us at 619.244.2400.

Social Media and Student-Athlete Handbooks

Social media guidelines exist so that an entire company and all of its employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them when they are representing the business online, whether it be on or off the clock. Universities, typically a bit slower to catch up to mainstream business practices, are definitely behind the curve when it comes to establishing guidelines for students and student-athletes.

In browsing some of the athletic department policies and it was surprising to see program after program devote less than a page to such a pressing topic.  For example:

Gambling …………………………………………………………………………………. 49 

Hazing …………………………………………………………………………………….. 50 

Social Networking Websites ……………………………………………………….. 50 

Grievance Policy ………………………………………………………………………. 50

And on Page 50, under the rules for hazing came:

SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES

Utilize your best judgment when using social networking websites. Our concern is not only about the content that is posted in the form of photos but also the proliferation of personal information, such as, cell phone numbers, class schedules and home addresses which many of you have made public. The content posted on these sites is not private. Your information may be currently viewed by: university officials, professors, parents, coaches, future employers, local and national media among others. Further, there have been a number of cases of assault that have been directly attributable to these sites.

As a student-athlete at (university name) you are held to a higher standard then the general student body. We ask that you do not post any information that might embarrass or otherwise cause harm to you, your team or the university.

 

Another athletic department gave a similar amount of space to the topic:

Team Rules………………………………………………………………..28 

Voluntary Withdrawals…………………………………………28 

Social Networking Websites …………………………………………29 

Criminal Activity ………………………………………………………….29

And once you landed on Page 29, you found:

SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES

Student-athletes are representatives of not only themselves and their teams but also Intercollegiate Athletics and the University as a whole. As outlined above, student-athletes are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents Athletics and the University. Student-athletes who post profiles on social networking websites, including MySpace and Facebook are reminded that the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and behavioral expectations apply to those posted profiles. Student-athletes not only represent themselves and their families, but also their individual teams, Intercollegiate Athletics, and (university name). Student-athletes should consider if they would share information with all of those constituencies before posting it online.

Student-athletes are also encouraged to limit the amount of personal information they post on those sites for their own safety as well as for future job searches and background checks. Once the information is posted on the Internet, it is in the public domain and can come back to haunt the poster later. Many employers are already checking social networking profiles before making any offers of employment. Predators also spend time on such sites looking for easy targets. Student-athletes should please be careful and think twice about what they post, especially photographs and contact or schedule information. Student-athletes can be targeted by predators via social media, and should report any such contacts to their coach or the Associate Director of Athletics/Director, Athletics Academic Services.

 

It’s also interesting to see where social media appears in the table of contents, next to hazing and criminal activity, in these examples. It doesn’t have to be that way! Social media guidelines can also represent the positive and help your students use social media to their advantage. Guidelines that are ripe with “don’t” as well as best practices, will serve as a resource to your student-athletes.  Keep in mind that, whatever guidelines you do implement should also be applicable to staff and coaches. Student-athletes are not the only ones to post inappropriate photos or tweet troubling comments. The purpose of social media guidelines is to inform what rules are in place, but also to allow everyone to achieve the department goals. You should want your team to be a success online. Guidelines are a good first-step to prepare them for that. (Education is a must, too!)

One service that Beaming Bohemian provides is the development of social media guidelines for your department. If you are an athletic department, a university or business who needs to establish this type of resource for your students or employees, please contact us. Social media guidelines are not a one-size-fits all rule book. They should reflect the culture of your department and allow everyone to take ownership in the final – and living –  document. We can work together to develop the best handbook for you. Contact shannabright@f5c.d03.myftpupload.com

The Coaches’ Game Plan for Personal Branding

This article was originally written for Hoop Group. You can read the post HEREHoop Group is the worldwide leader in basketball instruction. Hoop Group has offered premier basketball camps since the summer of 1963. Having touched the lives of over 1 million young men and women since Hoop Group has evolved into much more than just summer basketball camps. Learn about the 4 divisions and what Hoop Group does by visiting their website at http://hoopgroup.com/.  You can also learn more by following @DaveKrupinski on Twitter  

The slightly altered version….

University athletic programs are increasingly placing pressure on coaches to better understand social media and use any variety of networks to interact with and monitor athletes, converse with students, be available to supporters and identify prospective donors. Coaches are in a unique position to either excel in the sport of social media or walk off the platforms scoreless. Coaches have undoubtedly reached the moment when it is crucial to not only understand how to use these social tools, but also how to use them with purpose and in a positive way. If coaches take an authoritative approach over their accounts, they can very well work to build a positive brand image, not only for themselves, but for their team, sport and school.  Here are a five key steps coaches can take to to build their brand and use social media more effectively.

1. Create Your Identity

Before your fingers touch the keyboard, you’ll need to develop your brand identity. Creating your brand identity starts with discovering your core values.  What are you passionate about in life? What motivates you? Why are you coaching basketball instead of soccer, softball instead of volleyball? What makes you special?  Why is your coaching style unique? These are all questions that you can ask yourself to drive down to the core of your being and determine what you value.

This is an exercise that will take a few hours, but it is well worth your time to discover three to five of your most prominent values. With each core value, it is essential you also write a core value statement. A few corporate examples:

Education

We can generate greater appreciation and loyalty from all of our stakeholders by educating them about natural and organic foods, health, nutrition and the environment.

Integrity

We demonstrate integrity every day by practicing the highest ethical standards and by ensuring that actions follow our words.

Collaboration and Partnering

Providing opportunities to meet, communicate, collaborate, and partner within the information industry and the business community.

2. Craft Your Brand Message

Using your core values and statements, draft what is your vision. Incorporate your core values, but also give some thought to what your audience wants to hear from you. What are their core concerns? This will set the tone of your brand communications and define your purpose for using online tools.  Why should people follow you? Why should they engage with your posts, read your content or share with their circles of friends?  What information are they expecting from you? Keep this in mind as you draft your brand message. It’s not only about what you want to tell them. It is more about what your audience wants to hear from you. Maybe you know your fans love behind-the-scenes photos. Perhaps they go crazy for post-game analysis. They might want to know what it’s like in the day of a coach. Fans could be looking to you for inspiration.

Even the biggest brands have gone through these first two exercises. The best brands incorporate their values into their brand message and communicate that through various channels, particularly social media.  Another way to think of these first two steps is to imagine that you are building your house of communication. Your core values are the strong, solid foundation and your vision and brand message serve as the framework for your communications. Without these, there is no house. Step into the world of social media without these game plans, and you are planning to fail.

 

3. Choose The Right Channels

One easy mistake to make is to have the desire to be all things to all people and exist everywhere. We tend to want to gain as much exposure as possible, and find we’re signing up for every social network ever built. But in order to hone your skills, it is better to narrow your focus.  Just think in terms of sports.  If you coached football, water polo, lacrosse and tennis how good of a coach would you be at any of those sports?  If you cut out the others and focus only on football, how much greater of a coach would you be? You would see your skills refined and improved.

But the question remains, how do you choose the right channel?  We have to think about your audience again. Where do they “live?”  If the majority of your fans, friends, community members, etc., use Facebook, then by all means, zone in on Facebook and utilize the features to your advantage. If you enjoy using Twitter to share news, gain a following and Twitter turns out to be a great method for telling your story, then go nuts on Twitter. Choosing the right channel is a blend of where you know your audience will receive your communications and what channels best promote your brand message.  You may have to test a bit and find what works and where your audience engages with you the most. Rest assured, you will find what works best for you. In order to better understand how each network functions, gain the help of the person who manages social media for your athletic department. They will be delighted to help you. If one of your athletes is a social superstar, ask for their help. They would love the chance to give their coach a few pointers! And what a great conversation to start with your players! (That’s an entirely different blog post!)

4. Be consistent

You’ve taken the steps to create your brand identity, to craft your brand message and choose the right channel to communicate, now you have to keep at it and build your brand.  One simple tip to brand yourself across your chosen channels is to use similar images for your profile or background photos so that fans will know they’ve landed on your page.  Use images that well represent your team or even pictures which promote your schedule. Put some thought into the photos. Don’t underestimate the power of a great photo. It’s valuable real estate for promoting your brand and lends a lasting image.

Just as a business would, you should plan ahead and create a content plan. You might not need to get super specific, but some outlines of what you might consider posting on a weekly or monthly basis can come in handy. This will help you with consistency. Luckily, you have a practice, game and tournament schedule that can guide you in what information to post. Check out a few professional teams like the Boston Celtics, The LA Kings or the Chicago Cubs. Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll does a great job on Twitter. Mimic what is working for the pros. The more consistent you are, the more you will see your following grow. They will learn they can depend on you for either specific bits of news and information, or expect dedicated times when you are online and available for conversation.  Coaches may want to consider a weekly window of time to be present online and allow the community to chat with you about an upcoming game. This type of chat can be neatly executed on most social channels. So again, find the one where your audience is present. You might also do something like welcome game-day quotes that you’ll retweet or posts of photos of fans in school-spirited gear on your Facebook Page.  There are lots of opportunities to create regular and consistent conversations and sharing of great content.

 

5. Be Valuable

Not only should you create content of value, but you should work to be valuable.  A few questions to ask yourself: Are you promoting your sport? Your team? Your school?  Your league or division? Are you cross-promoting the other sports at your school? Giving accolades to your players or to other athletes at your school who excel? Are you sharing content that is a positive reflection on your personal brand? Are you sharing information your audience wants to receive?  Do you really look at who your fans and followers are? Any prospective donors in the mix? Can you name the team’s biggest fan?

If coaches take the time and make the effort to promote their brand, they will grow to serve as valuable assets to the team, the athletic department and to the school. Coaches with strong personal brands can positively affect recruitment, player performance and professional development, community support, ticket sales, donor relations and public image. When your contributions off the field are just as significant as your work with your athletes, you bring added value to your team and to the athletics program. You can serve as a social media example to your players and, in turn, help them improve their communication skills.

 

Far too many coaches have written off social media as something that exists only to get their players in trouble or as some silly thing kids use to broadcast which sandwich they chose for lunch.  In reality, social media serve as incredibly powerful communication tools which, when approached professionally, purposefully and positively, can set you up for the winning goal.

 

Beaming Bohemian, unconventionally brilliant communication, was founded to infuse communications with positivity and purpose and to empower you to build meaningful, personable brands which connect and inspire people. If you are a coach in need of more guidance, we’d like to help you. We can consult with you privately to get you active on the social networks which best fit your goals, or we can bring the Coaching the Coaches program to your campus and allow all the coaches on your teams benefit from personal branding and social media education. Contact us! 

It’s an Issue of Trust

trust word in letterpress type

Perhaps you’ve seen the news peppered with stories about university athletic departments all geared up to monitor their student-athletes’ social media accounts. With several universities receiving media attention and NCAA infractions, it’s no wonder athletic departments are “scrambling” for solutions.

Without a proper education, there is no doubt that student-athletes are going to commit social faux pas online. Even coaches and athletic department staff have committed noticeable errors. However, the message that you send the moment you set up a monitoring system is, “We don’t trust you.”  Your message to your players becomes,  “We have the greatest faith in you on the field, but the moment you’re out of our sight, we don’t trust your actions or your judgement. We don’t trust that you know how to communicate or what to say. We don’t believe in you.”

Educating your players, on the court and in the office, prepares them to be successful communicators and builds trust between an organization and its team members.  When you (re)educate your team – and I mean every staff member, coach and player – about your brand identity, the brand message and provide social media guidelines (methods for successful communication), you empower your people to serve as brand ambassadors. Enabling them with a better understanding of the various communication tools develops personal pride and a willingness to better serve your organization. Directors and Head Coaches serve as positive, capable examples and can better relate with staff and players about the events happening in the social stratosphere. A thorough education and open discussion can serve as a spring board for ideas which may be generated from the most unexpected sources.

Some universities have chosen to provide some level of social media education, but yet continue to employ monitoring services, “just in case.”  That only sends mixed signals to the players,  “We want you to learn how to use these tools and we want to help you improve your communication skills. But…we still don’t trust that you’ll be successful and remain worried you’ll say or do something stupid.” How else are these young adults to interpret this? How are they (and you) to learn from their mistakes?

ASU’s Michael Crow said at the NCAA Convention in January that the student-athlete experience is, in a sense, a leadership academy. In addition to creating opportunities for their players to become the best athletes they can be, the ASU athletic department staff and coaches offer “life coaching” to motivate their young men and women athletes to consider what they want their life to mean, what life goals they want to achieve and what they want to contribute to the world.

In a CBS video of several coaches weighing in on social media, it was Jim Christian at Texas Christian University who said, “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.” And UNLV Basketball Head Coach, Dave Rice chimed in with, “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.”

Universities, which are at their core, educational institutions, are far better off preparing their athletes for success versus assuming their failures and continually operating in crisis management mode.  Educating your athletes about reputation management, personal branding and all the nifty details of social media, challenges them with responsibility and professionalism and a chance to rise to the occasion.  At the end of the day, that IS what college is all about and a sure method for creating an environment of trust and empowerment while paving a path for tomorrow’s leaders.

Through Beaming Bohemian’s branding and social media education, including the development of social media guidelines, you can change your tune and deliver the message of trust to your student-athletes. Investing in this education is a uniquely positive approach which delivers the message, “We believe that you are amazing individuals who have a unique ability to inspire others through your leadership. We believe you are just as talented off the field as you are on the court. As a student-athlete, you have a more visible platform for story telling and brand development. We trust that you respect yourself, your teammates, your coaches, fellow students and members of the community. We believe in you and we are excited for you to share your story with the world.”

 

Media Sources

Maryland Bill Addresses College Athletes’ Social Media Privacy via The New York Times

Supreme Court to schools: Take care with First Amendment via LA Times

Athletic departments get free rein with social media via Minnesota Daily

UNC, NCAA Address Monitoring Athletes On Social Media via WFMY News (CBS)

Schools scramble to monitor athletes’ social-media activities after NCAA ruling via philly.com

NCAA: No plans to police Twitter via Missoulian

Are you Jim Boeheim or Dave Rice?

6a0115709f071f970b0162ff66dee4970d-400wi

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?

Get Bright Life E-News

Get free education and updates from Bright Life Media. E-news contains exclusive content for subscribers only. Say YES to a Bright Life now!

 

YES Please

Archives

Let’s Tweet

Connect on Facebook

Visit Shanna’s Other Sites

become-vip

Testimonials

Back to top