NKU enforces no official policy for athletes’ social media

Coaches and staff at NKU have realized the growing popularity in social media usage and the potential problems they could create for a Division I athletic program.

To avoid any potential problems, coaches and staff said they address this issue early on with student athletes to ensure that the players, teams and the university as a whole are shown in a positive light.

“Our program is very simple: don’t embarrass yourself, your family, the university or this program, and if you push that button and it does, then there’s consequences to whatever you said,” David Bezold, NKU men’s basketball head coach, said.

Rianna Gayheart, sophomore organizational leadership and communication major, is in her second season playing as a guard for the Norse women’s basketball team.

“I definitely have to think twice before I post things online,” Gayheart said. “I know our coaches are watching as well as young kids who look up to me as an athlete. I think it’s important to be a good role model when you are in a place where a lot of people know who you are.”

Gayheart uses Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Whisper and Vine, not only to keep in touch with friends that aren’t at NKU, but also to represent herself as a positive role model to the NKU community. She does not feel like her speech is limited by the policies in place.

“I wouldn’t necessarily do the things we aren’t allowed to even if its not a rule. I wouldn’t want my family to see me being nasty on social media,” Gayheart said.

Even athletes who are not avid users of social media, like Jack Flournoy, sophomore athletic training major and forward for the NKU men’s basketball team, who limits himself to just Facebook, understand the importance of watching what they post.

 “I definitely think we’re under a microscope and have to think about the broad array of people that could be reading our stuff, such as kids and parents,” Flournoy said.

Flournoy feels that since his posts are not controversial enough to warrant censorship, the policies do not limit his freedoms either.

Although to this point, according to Bezold, there have not been any major issues with athletes and social media on NKU’s campus.

Bezold and the rest of the staff in the athletic department said they work hard to address the issue and try to make sure NKU is always shown in a positive light, both on and off the court.