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OSU football Twitter ban up in the air

Christopher Schwartz / Managing editor

Urban Meyer held a meeting with non-senior members of the Ohio State football team at 7 a.m. Tuesday to officially begin his tenure as head coach, and social media chaos ensued.

According to multiple players’ Twitter accounts, the team was informed that the use of the social media platform was no longer allowed. Just hours later, some players backtracked on their Twitter accounts, denying that such a ban had been implemented.

Junior tight end Reid Fragel tweeted from his account, @FRAGEL88, around noon Tuesday, saying: “New staff new rules. No more twitter, not a big deal and probably for the better. Love our fans, love this place. Go Bucks #2012.”

By about 4:45 p.m., Fragel issued the following tweet: “Just now finding out the whole twitter thing wasn’t exactly true. #hearsay.”

OSU athletics spokesman Jerry Emig said he was unable to confirm a social media ban on OSU players.

“While I understand through others that players have indicated there is a ban, I am not in a position to confirm or deny such a ban,” Emig said in an email to The Lantern.

Had a social media ban be implemented, OSU football could have violated federal law.

David A. Goldberger, professor emeritus of law at OSU’s Moritz College of Law, said a complete ban of Twitter, or another social media platform, would be unlawful.

“If (the ban) were narrowed to a subject, possibly that would be OK. Possibly,” said Goldberger, an OSU football season-ticket holder and supporter of the new coaching staff. “I have my doubt about this, but there may be topics that the coach can put out of bounds, but to say that you can’t use a social media is far too broad. It’s like saying you can’t talk.”

Goldberger said players could voluntarily pledge to abstain from using a social media platform.

Nate Riggs, a Columbus-based social business consultant, said a possible ban would have been an interesting decision considering Tuesday was Meyer’s first day on the job.

“You see this (bans) at large corporations all the time. I get why he would do something like this,” Riggs said. “He’s trying to basically shut off all distractions from the outside world. One tweet from a 20- or 21-year-old kid can end up all over national news.”

Considering that the ban would have been imposed on college athletes, Riggs said an education program to teach student athletes how to use social media properly would be a more appropriate option.

“At the end of the day, Ohio State is an educational institution. Having an education around using a tool like Twitter … you should be learning Twitter if you’re going to be going into marketing, or sales or operations,” Riggs said.

At least one OSU football player — sophomore wide receiver Corey Brown — wasn’t fazed by the ban-turned-rumor.

From his account, @phillybrown10, Brown said: “I’m not leaving my followers lol.”

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