Tag: social media athletics

27 Nov

Tennessee, Greg Schiano, and the power of social media in college sports

Kevin DeShazo Leadership, Social Media Education, Social Media Strategy Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Yesterday was quite the day. Without going into the full details (USA Today has a good recap here), the rundown is that Tennessee was rumored to be announcing Greg Schiano as their new football coach on Sunday afternoon/evening. Schiano is the current defensive coordinator at Ohio State. As soon multiple outlets confirmed that report, Twitter came to life and eventually, reports have come out stating that the hire will not happen. Schiano’s name came up in the Sandusky scandal (he was a GA at Penn State at the time) and Tennessee fans on Twitter were not happy. Tennessee legislators and local businesses even got in on the Twitter action, demanding the Vols go a different direction.

The White House Press Secretary even got involved.

There’s a lot to break down here and we’re just going to scratch the surface.

It’s easy to dismiss social media chatter as “fanatics” who don’t have a real impact on your program. And there is certainly some truth to that. We have often said that the great thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice. Also, the terrible thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice.

But this went beyond that. This went deeper than message board conspiracies to media members, businesses (potential sponsors?) and state politicians. Protests on campus were organized, the online mob grew louder, John Currie (AD at Tennessee) had his phone number (both office and cell) and email address posted to Twitter. The situation became so toxic that both parties disengaged.

We talk often about social media being used as a tool in the hiring process, but the story that isn’t often told is the power that fans now have. With social media, those voices (positive or negative) spread quickly. It becomes a snowball that grows larger and larger as it barrels down the mountain, taking out whatever (and whomever) gets in the way. And this time, what got in the way were a coach (and his family), an athletics director and athletics department.

AD’s have to not only have the pulse on their department, but on the fan base. With social media, fans are going to find every potential red flag a candidate could have. ADs and search committees no doubt do the same due diligence. Then they weigh whether those red flags are something they can overcome and “win” in the press conference and on the field/court, or if they’re enough of an issue to pass. Tennessee believe this to be the former (and I’m not here to place judgement on whether Schiano should or should not have been hired). *FWIW, Dan Wetzel covered the Penn State scandal as well as anyone and had this to say about Schiano’s involvement (or lack thereof) and the chaos that went down yesterday.

The problem is that they completely missed. They missed on how their fans would react, on how quickly the firestorm would last and on just how toxic the red flags were. They missed how influential social media can truly be. The outcry became digitally deafening. And it was enough of a crisis to cause an athletics department to back out of their decision, to change course. A coach was fired before he was every officially announced as hired.

Where we go from here is yet to be seen, but it certainly adds significant pressure to the already pressure-packed position of being a college athletics director.

Yesterday, the full power of sports fan Twitter was on full display. Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined, but today is one that will be talked about for years to come. And it’s certainly something we’ll discuss on our panel at the NCAA Convention in January, where we look at What AD’s Should Know About Social Media.


Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 130 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.

25 Jul

Social Media, Student Athletes and Social Issues

Kevin DeShazo Leadership, Social Media Education Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

“To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We are, without question, living in interesting times. From #NeverTrump to #CrookedHillary, Russia news to #FakeNews, #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter, our waves of communication (TV, internet and personal) are rife with tension. Everyone has a voice, everyone has an opinion, everyone has a platform to shout it from.

So, what about student-athletes? Coaches want to eliminate “distractions” and want the players focused, but we need to acknowledge that it might be tough to focus completely on their sport when they see what’s going on in the world – good and bad.


08 May

2017 Survey Results: Social Media use of Student Athletes

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

For the past 4 years, we’ve surveyed collegiate athletes at every level about their social media use. You can see results from 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. This year we had more than 2000 student-athletes participate. This information is useful for administrators, to help you understand how and why this generation of athletes uses social media, but it is also helpful for us. This data informs how we structure our sessions and message to student-athletes, in order to be relevant and connect with them in a way that has a true impact. This is how we have become and continue to be the most trusted resource when it comes to educating student-athletes on social media use, and why more than 120 programs have utilized our services in the past 6 years.

We’ll do an analysis of this information in a later post but the results are clear: social media use is on the rise (no surprise) and there is still a significant need for social media education. There’s a tendency to believe that because this generation of athletes has grown up with social media, that they know how to use it well. For most, that simply isn’t the case. Understanding how and why to use social media well only comes through intentional education from someone who actually understands and uses social media.

Here are the results of our 2017 survey on the social media use of college athletes.


03 May

Fieldhouse Media at NACDA 2016

Kevin DeShazo Leadership, Social Media Strategy Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

NACDA is always a fun time for those in the college sports world. It’s a time to hear great speakers, to learn best practices, to sharpen your skills, to network and to relax. We’re excited to be a part of it again this year as we head to Dallas in June to discuss social media and leadership with the industry’s best and brightest. Take a look at our schedule below, put the times in your calendar, and let us know if you’ll be there! (and if you want to schedule individual meetings, shoot an email here)

5 Gears of Connectivity: How to be Present and Productive When There’s Never Enough Time
Saturday, June 11 from 3:40-4:30p in Governors Lecture Hall
Sunday, June 12 from 10:00-10:50a in Senators Lecture Hall

NACMA/CoSIDA Joint Panel
Social Media Best Practices
Other panelists: Nick Marquez from Facebook and Taylor Stern from the Dallas Cowbows

Tuesday, June 14 from 9:10-10:00a in the Trinity Ballroom

D2 ADA (open to all NACDA registrants)
5 Gears of Connectivity: How to be Present and Productive When There’s Never Enough Time
Wednesday, June 15 from 2:30-3:30p

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Dallas!

Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 95 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.

29 Apr

Laremy Tunsil, the NFL Draft, and social media lessons for student athletes

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

A video posted to the Twitter account of NFL prospect and former Ole Miss football player Laremy Tunsil cost him anywhere from $7-12 million dollars. The video, posted just minutes before the NFL draft started, showed what was believed to be Tunsil smoking weed through a gas mask bong.


25 Apr

2016 Social Media use of Student Athletes [infographic]

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education, Social Media Strategy Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

We recently published the results of our 2016 survey on the social media use of student-athletes. Thanks to the more than 1300 college athletes from every level of competition who took the time to take part in the survey. If you are a coach or administrator, take some time to dig through the numbers. It’s our 4th year to do this survey and the information, we believe, is really valuable. It gives us good insight into this group as it regards to their social media habits.

Some highlights/takeaways from the results


29 Dec

What did 2015 look like for Fieldhouse Media?

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education, Social Media Strategy Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments


As we head full speed into a new year, it’s always good to step back and reflect on the previous year. To understand where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. And, hopefully, to celebrate. Thanks to you, 2015 brought us many reasons to celebrate.


Social Media Education/Training


04 Nov

3 Questions for Student Athletes to Ask Before Posting on Social Media

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Many things keep administrators up at night. One of those things, not surprisingly, is what their student-athletes are doing online. “What are they posting? Who will see it? Will I get an email at 2:00 in the morning about it? Will I wake up to find one of our players on Deadspin for something she tweeted?”

What players post is out of the control of administrators and coaches – no matter what policies you have in place. It’s one of the main reasons social media education is so important. Given how much time college students spend online, and how much of a magnifying glass is on what student-athletes post, we must be intentional to educate, equip and empower them to use it well.

In our leadership sessions with teams and departments, we use a tool to decrease gossip and drama. It’s a visual tool that asks 3 questions. 


03 Aug

The Social Media “Drill” – Teaching the Power of Positive Social Media with One Exercise

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Today we have a guest post from our friend Morgan Crutchfield. Morgan is a writer and photographer who studies the dynamics of social media and sports. Find her on Twitter @CentralMorgan. Enjoy!

Social Media can be a scary thing to tackle as a coach; the need to address athletes’ social media usage may be overwhelmed by fear of failure to cover all the issues or intimidation related to opening a Pandora’s Box by talking about social at all. Attempts to create guidelines start to look like exercises in making long lists of don’ts and the ever-changing landscape of apps and platforms seems to create more work and more room for error. But as we learn more about athletes’ relationships with their teammates and peers, we’re learning that a restrictive social media plan is not only not effective for teams, it fails to capitalize on the power of positive social.

While there is certainly value in setting boundaries with your players and possibly even providing examples of social media disasters to prove the point, educating on what not to do should only be a small part of the plan. Because while social media can be a gateway to some exceptionally negative consequences for athletes who use it only as a megaphone for poorly thought-out posts, it can also be an incredibly powerful set of tools to help athletes build both team unity and self image.

Where should you start? Like any skill on the field, wise social media use starts with practice, so I’ve developed a “drill” that will help your athletes understand how to use social media for good and at the same time will utilize the networks they’re on for hours at a time .


22 Jun

A blueprint for social media success in college athletics

Kevin DeShazo Social Media Strategy Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Blueprint: a detailed plan of how to do something

We talk a lot about social media use of college athletics departments, and of course how student-athletes and staff use the various social media platforms. We tweet out a lot of links to something inspiring that one department did, or something unique that another program published. These ideas help to get creative juices flowing, to see what works for others that might work for you. The problem is that, without an actual strategy, none of these are really helpful. You don’t just throw graphics or videos or stories up independently of one another. Each has a place in your overall brand story, each serves a purpose in establishing and furthering your voice. You got a lot of RTs on that great pic but what now? That funny YouTube video you posted went viral, but you didn’t have a plan in place to capture that momentum. You are doing social media, but you aren’t really doing social media.

In our visits to over 80 athletics departments and conferences, we ask a lot of questions and learn about where people are succeeding and where they are struggling when it comes to social media.

These discussions (along with our work with athletics organizations and studying the social media industry as a whole) resulted in a presentation that we’ve given over the past two years at a number of events, on creating a blueprint for social media success in college sports.