20150526 Social Media
Athletes walk a fine line when it comes to posting on social media. (Source: Tribune News Service) Photo credit: Tribune News Service

Social media is an integral part of today’s society. Most people use at least one form of social media, and student-athletes are no exception.

The use of social media can benefit the athlete and the team by showcasing their accomplishments.

However, college athletes are public figures who represent themselves as well as the university they play for, so it is imperative that they keep a good image of themselves both on and off the field.

Each university is unique, but at Weber State University the coaches put policies and procedures in place for athletes to follow in regards to social media.

Tiffany Hogan, WSU track coach, said that she has her own set of policies that she expects her athletes to follow.

Hogan said that she encourages her athletes to keep their social media clean, and she does not want them posting about any injuries that have happened to themselves or their fellow athletes.

“They cannot take pictures in the locker room or post negative comments about their teammates or coaches,” Hogan said.

Hogan said that some athletes have a problem with time management and can spend just a little too much time on social media instead of focusing on their day-to-day responsibilities.

Coaches at WSU want their players to represent themselves in a good light so that the program has support from the community.

Sara Federico, WSU golf coach, said that she tells her players, “Do not post anything on social media that your grandmother would not want to see.”

Federico said that the athletes are not supposed to post about using drugs or alcohol online as that could jeopardize the program.

In the past five years, Federico said that the team has only had one incident with social media.

Social media can be a downfall for some athletes, according to Federico, because they do not know how to utilize it effectively. Federico believes that social media can be positive for athletes and their teams.

“It gets you out there. You can really make a platform from social media and encourage younger athletes,” Federico said. “Players have such a big impact on them, and players are role models to the younger crowd.”

With the policies set in place by the coaches, it ultimately comes down to the athlete to be informed and follow the rules while using social media.

Elsa Roundy, a WSU soccer player, said that her coach explained to her and the entire team the policies on social media as soon as she joined the team.

“Our coach made her point very clear on what we cannot do on social media,” Roundy said.

Roundy said that her coach wants the players to be clean on social media. Roundy said that they are not allowed to swear, post inappropriate pictures or repost anything that is in poor taste.

“Our coaches want us to represent WSU soccer and being an student athlete,” Roundy said.

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