UNC Updates Social Media Policy

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of North Carolina's athletic department has updated its policy on monitoring student-athletes' use of social networking and social media websites to include additional evaluation by team monitors.

Athletic department staff members received an email detailing the change on Tuesday afternoon. In the memo, athletics director Dick Baddour wrote that "the monitoring expectations under this revised policy were thoroughly explained to coaches and Team Monitors during the compliance meeting on August 31, 2011."

A "team monitor" is defined in the updated policy as a "coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of team members' social networking sites and postings."

The monitors will be responsible for reviewing postings according to previously stated guidelines, while also evaluating postings "for information that could indicate a potential violation of NCAA regulations related to amateurism, including specifically evaluating postings that identify possible improper extra benefits and/or agent-related activities."

Student-athletes were informed of the heightened monitoring during their team eligibility meetings in August and September.

Any violation of NCAA or UNC rules could face individual sanctions that "may include, but not be limited to, notice to remove the posting or photo to dismissal from the team and non-renewal or reduction of athletics grant-in-aid."

The athletic department initially changed its social media policy in August 2010 in the wake of the NCAA investigation.

On Monday, North Carolina responded to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations and disagreed with Allegation No. 9(b), which states that "the institution did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity." The school charged that No. 9 (b) is "unprecedented" and highlights the fact that there are no NCAA bylaws that address day-to-day monitoring of an institution's student-athletes.

On Tuesday, UNC released documents representing exhibits in its response to the NCAA, including 310 pages of Twitter posts and photos by Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Kendric Burney.

North Carolina football players were banned from using their Twitter accounts last October and that policy is still in place. Facebook, however, is permitted for use.

The increased scrutiny of social networking sites hasn't deterred other high-profile student-athletes on campus from using those outlets on a consistent basis. Sports Illustrated recently tabbed starting point guard Kendall Marshall as "one of the game's best Twitter follows."

Inside Carolina Top Stories