As social media bans return, one SEC AD explains why he's against them

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday August 11, 2015


The start of the college football season means the implementation of some social media bans for players, but Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is staunchly against it.

The Post and Courier revealed Clemson’s ban has gone into place again. They're not alone. Florida State is another. On Tuesday, Long shared his opinion of such bans.

When social media began to rise more than five years ago, the bans were a proactive measure. But now it's an integrated part of everyday life, especially for players. Chris Petersen famously had a ban while at Boise State, but he got rid of it when he went to Washington, saying it’s just part of the world we live in now. You can also be sure it's used in recruiting against schools with bans.

But some believe it’s still important, and not just coaches. Florida State defensive back Nate Andrews tweeted last week, “Last day we can be on social media. … Actually a good thing. I really need to focus on football and not tweeting and posting Instagram posts.”

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo doesn't ban social media, but he often rails against it and says comments from fans toward players have put some players in tears. 

In the end, it comes down to how the players can handle it. Long’s football coach, Bret Bielema, referenced strong social media checks in the recruiting process. Bielema doesn’t have a ban, because he trusts his players to handle it properly when they're in his program. As Bielema says, you recruit your own problems.

“If you have a social media nickname or something on your Twitter account that makes me sick, I'm not going to recruit you,” Bielema said at SEC Media Days. “I've turned down players based on their Twitter handles. I've turned down players based on Twitter pictures. It's just that's how I choose to run our program. It's the things that Jeff Long and our fans hold me accountable to. I'm never going to waiver in that.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.