Michigan football Exposed! Brady Hoke may have won the Sugar Bowl, but his recruits Twitter accounts are going to turn him sour.
As a writer with no inherent bias towards any school in NCAA football, I was moved by the article several weeks back on Yuri Wright, and if you see the reader reaction on the article, I was not the only one who had strong feelings on the subject.
2 days after the article was published, Yuri Wright was expelled from Don Bosco Prep and has subsequently enrolled at nearby Ramsey High School. As I watched this story unfold, as thought about Yuri losing scholarship offers due to his Twitter account, a larger question came to the forefront: Is Yuri Wright alone in these actions on Twitter or is his behavior the norm among high profile high school athletes. Working with the writing staff at Chat Sports, we researched the Twitter behaviors of 100's of high profile high school athletes, and the results were shocking.
Not only was Yuri Wright not alone in his actions on Twitter, these actions are considered normal by high school athletes, and in many cases are overlooked as "kids being kids" by high school coaches, administrators and parents. During our time compiling this information, the staff at Chat Sports spoke with administrators and coaches of several of the recruits profiled to get their opinion on the matter:
Do schools have policies for athletes behavior on Twitter? "We never differentiate between athlete and student. Not one or the other. They are all students." Brian Kelly, Athletic Director at Warren, MI De La Salle high school, home of top 2013 QB recruit Shane Morris. "We don't have a policy on social media. We don't reference Twitter or Facebook , no specific website or social media. While students are on campus, there is a policy on computer and internet use and what activities are acceptable.
"Everyone at the school knows Shane is on Twitter. I'd be very surprised if anything was on his account like that (Yuri Wright)."
The day the Yuri Wright article came out, a coach at Don Bosco Prep, who asked not to be named, told one of our writers that the school didn't know anything about Yuri Wrights Twitter account. Two days later, Don Bosco head coach Greg Toal contradicted that statement telling ESPN "We told them about 10 or 15 times to get off (Twitter) and not to be involved in it, but there is always somebody who thinks he knows better."
When asked about monitoring the Twitter accounts of incoming freshman athletes, University of Michigan Assc. Athletic Director David Ablauf said "We have limited to no contact with any high school student athlete. We educate our athletes from the day they arrive on campus until the day they leave on how to deal with media and social media. We have brought in an outside company to work with our athletes on how to interact in this environment.
"We have over 700 student athletes at Michigan and recruit hundreds more every year. We don't have the man-power to sit there and monitor the accounts of every kid. That would be a full time job for someone."
The Michigan athletic department projects $121.2 million in revenue for 2011-12 fiscal year, with $11.4 million in profit.
Who is to blame for the activities of these athletes on Twitter? Should there be training or classes on acceptable social media use for high profile 16-18 year old athletes?
The parents and coaches at the high school level must wake up and realize social media is no different from broadcasting a live feed of your life if you choose it to. Training on acceptable tweeting is VITAL at the high school level, not just for athletes. Words hurt people and can ruin reputations. After reading the tweets below, we urge anyone associated with a high school athletic program to demand mandatory social media training for their student athletes and be aware of what the students close to you are broadcasting out on the internet. The best thing that can come of showing these tweets is to ensure that future athletes will be more cautious about how they interact in social media.
All content below is open for anyone to read on Twitter. Remember as you read: The student athletes, knowing they are high profile recruits, knowingly sent these tweets out to the world. None of these accounts are private or protected. As you read them, ask yourself how you would feel if Denard Robinson tweeted the same thing today.
Be warned, the content below contains content racially and sexually inappropriate.
Terry Richardson #5 CB, #68 in Nation by ESPN
Detroit Cass Tech
AJ Williams #36 TE
Cincinnati Sycamore High
Amara Darboh #1 player in Iowa
West Des Moines Dowling High
Ondre Pipkins, 5-star DT by Rivals, #14 player in Nation
Kansas City, Mo. Park Hill High
Erik Magnuson, 4-star, #78 player in Nation by Rivals
Carlsbad, CA La Costa Canyon High
Mario Ojemudia, 3-star #12 player in Michigan by Rivals
Farmington Hills, MI Harrison High
Michigan football is part two of 7 part series on social media use of amateur athletes
What other schools are being exposed by Twitter?
Follow the 2012 Michigan football recruiting class on Twitter:
Alex Jones, Rick Steele and Mack Ferguson contributed on this article.
***Note from the Editor: This is obviously going to be a very controversial article. We decided to publish the middle ground of what we uncovered. For all 6 schools featured, we discovered evidence of gambling on football, drugs, alcohol on recruiting visits and mentions of improper recruiting benefits that we chose not to publish.***
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