JoePa, Are You Being Watched?
In what could be straight off a page of George Orwell’s book 1984, a new kind of Big Brother is now watching over the world of social media, protecting colleges from potentially embarrassing situations involving their sports teams.
A company called Sports Media Challenge (SMC) has come up with a search engine to check through Facebook, Twitter, and other popular websites to give schools notice on any inappropriate behavior involving a member of any of their athletic teams. This could lead to actions being taken against a player or coach before the situation gets out of hand and even saving the school from incurring any NCAA violations (see here USC football and Indiana basketball).
Penn State called upon SMC for their services three years ago and so far has had good results. Greg Myford, Penn State’s associate athletic director, had this to say in an interview:
The Sports Media Challenge has enabled me to see [the storm] before the lightning splits the tree in the front yard. More and more, we have to have clear understanding of what our customers are thinking and what they are saying. As the digital world continues to evolve at a pace that each of us is struggling to keep up with, SMC enables us to tap into it by following the volume out there.
This was a smart move by the university. With all of the violations and crime appearing nowadays in collegiate sports, any tool to keep a school’s situation under control can only be for the better. Let us not, however, forget the importance of self-policing as well–every now and then, an Austin Scott can slip through the cracks.