Athletic competition is ultimately defined by what happens between the out-of-bounds marks, whether it’s the sidelines in football, boards in hockey or baseline in basketball, though a lot of media attention focuses on stories outside the field of play. Twitter, a popular social media site among celebrities and athletes alike, has given the common spectator unprecedented access inside the day to day personal lives of star players, for better or worse. While some certainly do use the site to promote their own brand and give informative insights, a healthy dose of twitter-happy athletes end up doing more harm than good. Particularly in collegiate athletics, where competitors must walk a tight line just to remain eligible, it seems as if Twitter is an unwelcome news pipeline. Whether it’s typing without thinking, exposing facets of college life universities/athletic departments would rather not see disclosed, or the ease with which unprepared young men are exposed to a barrage of personal praise and criticism with each passing game, a Twitter account is a modern day Pandora’s Box for the big time college athlete.Quarterback Jacory Harris and the Miami Hurricanes are the latest athletes to jump off the Twitter bandwagon citing the site as the root of more harm than good. Though the recent racist comments directed at Harris via Twitter are no fault of the youngster, this summer has already seen a host of poor post decisions by high profile NCAA “tweeps,” from Michael Jordan’s son to UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin’s string of tweets that should prove helpful to agent probe investigators. Unless, of course, you believe the average student athlete can afford to pop bottles in nightclubs on a regular basis on his own salar- excuse me, “student loans.” Throw in University of Missouri athletes who spent the summer accenting their posts with the hash- tag rally cry “GetMoney,” and you have the recipe for another investigation just waiting to happen.Though countless followers might cling to their Twitterfeed, holding tight to every last thought Chad OchoCinco lets fly, at least for collegiate athletes without a paid team of advisors or personal PR department, perhaps Twitter posts are best left to the professionals (professional athletes that is).

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