Punishment For "Tweet" A First

FAYETTEVILLE — The comment Arkansas point guard Courtney Fortson posted on Twitter while three teammates were being investigated for an alleged rape has prompted a first for the athletic department.

An Arkansas athlete has been punished for violating the school's new social networking guidelines.

Athletic director Jeff Long did not mention Fortson by name or reveal his exact punishment Thursday, but indicated one has been handed down. Two- to three-game suspensions will be levied for certain members of the basketball team, according to coach John Pelphrey.

"This is the first time since we've had a policy on social networking that we've had a penalty associated," Long said. "I think prior to the policy, we had some that were borderline and could've been punished. But this is the first one that falls under our policy."

Fortson wrote on his Twitter page on Sept. 7, "Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol."

Arkansas' social networking guidelines were put in place in time for the fall semester. Every athlete on campus was required to sign and date the paperwork.

Long said the athletic department wishes it didn't face a situation where it had to punish an athlete who didn't adhere to its social networking policies. But Long said the policy is there for a reason and believes athletes on campus will understand the consequences now.

"We have the policy and they sign that they've read the policy and we explain the policy, so I think we've taken a very proactive stance," Long said. "We've educated them in advance. But do I think this will serve as a message to the rest of our 460-something student-athletes? Yes. I really do think that they're serious about, we're held accountable for the social networking media."

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