USC recently celebrated an accomplishment of quarterback Matt Barkley, a Heisman candidate: He became the first college football player verified on Twitter.
@mattbarkley is the first college football player to be verified by Twitter.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) August 22, 2012
Barkley has been active on Twitter, with nearly 5,000 tweets and more than 64,000 followers, and the Trojans have seemed to embrace the social media platform. Now, the school has taken its support to another level by publishing many of its football players’ Twitter handles on their biographies on the school’s athletics website, reports FootballScoop.com.
Below Barkley’s photo but above his career biography on his profile page, for example, is a link to his Twitter account, @MattBarkley.
It’s an interesting move at a time when other schools seem to be pushing their athletes away from social media sites, where a misguided post can embarrass the player and school.
Florida State banned its players from Twitter earlier this summer, and some programs have hired companies to monitor their athletes’ tweets. Louisville and Kentucky require their student-athletes to install monitoring software for their social media sites, the Courier-Journal recently reported. The software then scans their posts and emails a program official if a “flagged” word or phrase is used. Many of the flagged terms are related to sex, drugs or alcohol.
It’s unclear whether USC uses any form of social media monitoring, but it seems to be implicitly endorsing its athletes’ Twitter accounts by publishing their handles on a school website. The decision could be a new way for the Trojans to reach their fans, and it could play well with recruits.