Skip to content

8 Simple Rules For Interacting with College Athletes on Social Media

November 27, 2018
Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb set off a fan firestorm with some Tweets after the 2010 game against South Carolina.

Social media can be a strange and frustrating place. I ought to know, I seem to spend all my time there for some reason. And maybe nowhere in the social media realm is that more true than in college sports social media. Ok, maybe politics, but there the political figure you’re calling names likely never sees how much you hate him or her, because one of his or her handlers read your tweet and either responded or (more likely) didn’t. In college sports, when you say something ridiculous to someone, that someone generally sees it, and that is especially true if that someone is a college athlete.

I was reminded of this last night when I saw a response from Landon Young to a tweet from a “fan” explaining that the “fan” had PLANNED to follow Landon, but was’t going to because they disagreed politically. Two things to keep in mind: 1) I’ve known Landon since he was about 12 and if there’s a nicer person playing college football, you’d have to work really hard to prove it to me, and 2) Landon hadn’t said anything to the “fan” in question. Dude just felt the need to tell Landon that he didn’t like his politics.

I was reminded again, when I saw this tweet from Sunday Morning Sports Talk (Sundays from 9 am-Noon on NewsRadio 630 WLAP) co-host and producer Curtis Burch:

Now, I have long been a proponent of fans 100% leaving college athletes alone on social media. That philosophy dates back to the Great Randall Cobb Kerfuffle of 2010. I wrote a whole great article about it for, but lucky for you (and likely for me), it seems to have vanished. To summarize that Pulitzer Prize winner, I have always felt like they deserve room to be regular college people. If that means blowing off steam on social media, then that’s their space and you have no right to try to control what they say.

To that end, I follow exactly four current UK athletes that I am aware of:
Landon Young, Drake Jackson and Kash Daniel, because we got to know them pretty well interviewing them seemingly every other week on Sunday Morning Sports Talk or Big Blue Insider during their recruitment; and Mike Edwards, because he loves Skyline Chili.

With all of that in mind, and as a public service, I offer you:

8 Simple Rules for Interacting with College Athletes on Social Media

  1. Don’t. Just in general. If you want to follow them, fine. But just don’t say anything is a good rule of thumb.
  2. If you think you have something really profound to say and they need to read it, you don’t; and even more probably, they don’t.
  3. If you think you need to tell them how to play better, you don’t. They have coaches for that. Imagine how you’d feel if random people on Twitter kept telling you how to do your job.
  4. If you think you need to tell them they need to practice or work out more, you don’t. They have ALL KINDS of coaches for that.
  5. If you think you need to tell them how to live their lives better, you don’t. They have parents AND coaches for that.
  6. If you think you need to tell them they’re wrong about something, you don’t. They have coaches, and parents, and probably a staffer of some kind to do that.
  7. If you think you need to “clap back” at them (I think that’s how the kids say it) for something they said, you don’t, because you’re a grown up. Let it slide.
  8. If you absolutely, positively, 100% HAVE TO say something, first, at least CONSIDER rule number 1. If that doesn’t work, then say something positive. Tell them they played well. Tell them you support them. Tell them next week will be better. Tell them you hope they recover from their injury. Thank them for visiting kids at the hospital or bowling with Special Olympics athletes. If you feel the need to tell them something else about their game, IN ALL CASES refer to rule 3. They. Have. Coaches. For. That.

There you have it. Simple, clean neat. And if you feel the need to disagree with any of it, well, I’m on Twitter.

From → UK

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: