TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Social media and college athletes. A Maryland university bans its football players from Twitter, causing backlash from students and lawmakers alike.

Weijia Jiang has the growing controversy over the Twitter time-out.

Right before a Towson University playoff game, a star player for the other team, Lehigh, used a racial slur in a message he sent out on Twitter.

“It’s very easy to mess up on Twitter,” said Towson senior Bryan Reichert.

Later, the NCAA suspended him. That’s why Rob Ambrose, head coach of the Tigers, says he banned Towson football players from tweeting. Ambrose told WJZ’s media partner, the Baltimore Sun, “Yeah, I took a pretty drastic action, but for me, it was the cold water on the face to get their attention.”

The decision has drawn sharp criticism from the Towson community.

“It’s your right to use whatever social media you want to use,” said Towson senior Brittney Cooper.

There’s also a group of Maryland lawmakers trying to make it illegal for schools to monitor how students use social media.

“It’s a violation of their First Amendment. It’s like asking them not to use the phone, to use the mail,” said Senator Ron Young.

Some students on campus agree with the coach’s decision and say it not only protects the players but also the university’s image.

“The only way to contain some of these disasters people put out on social media is to say for the time being, it’s not going to happen,” said Towson senior A.J. Golden.

Other coaches have also enforced a Twitter time-out. Former Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams once asked his players not to use it during the season.

“The ban may have been excessive,” said Towson field hockey player Ashley Rivera.

Rivera says her coach has compromised. Rivera is allowed to tweet but signed a contract promising to be prudent.

“Because we are representing our school,” Rivera said.

Ambrose says the ban is not permanent but will be in place until there’s a better understanding of how to use Twitter.

Maryland lawmakers are also trying to pass a law that would prevent business owners from monitoring employees’ social media accounts.

Comments (9)
  1. Hugs says:

    Personally, I agree with the ban. Life is about choices. Being on the team is a priveledge, not a right. If you want to be on the team, you must do certain things to be a part of the team. (work out, practice, maintain your grades, and make sure you are being a good example for the team as a whole.) If these kids get out of college and seek a career in the intellegence community, law enforement, legal field, you can be darn sure that all of their social media will be monitored.

  2. ill says:

    twitter is for FOOLS anyways…

  3. alan says:

    Send your kids away to learn & pay a few hundred thou in the process. They learn to drink, drug, lie & cheat. Spend my time in some babes room than they do in class. Wonderful lessons in life eh? No wonder they can’t handle rejection or hold a job.

  4. Stupid Ban says:

    Lets become China….

  5. annette says:

    It violates their 1st amendment rights and someone needs to sue the coach and the school.

    1. Doc says:

      1st Amend. doesn’t guarantee the unfettered use of electronic equipment any more than guaranteeing you may use your cell phone while driving.

  6. Doc says:

    Want to Twitter, during the game?, Quit the team. As long as you are engaged in that kind of activity, you do what the Coach directs. Don’t like it?: quit! When you’re the boss/Coach, you can make the rules. Until then, do as you’re told and abide by the rules or leave.

  7. eesh says:

    So silly…..why not just regulate it, surly the players are responsible enough to follow guidelines. Coach sounds like a power hungry, mindless bully to me.

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