Throughout its history, the NCAA has taken a beating from college football fans (as well as other college sports fans) and deservedly so. Over the years, they’ve made some ridiculous decisions while turning a blind eye to the blatant cheating that goes on in college sports, at least when it comes to major programs (they haven’t had much trouble punishing the minor programs).
Now, instead of trying to find ways to stop the illegal benefits from following, restore the integrity of college sports, and protect the status of the amateur athlete, they’ve taken up more “important” matters. Yesterday, it was announced the NCAA is now banning the use of social media hashtags, most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram, on college football fields.
Less than two years ago, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were the first to make college football more social media friendly for its fans by painting #HailState in their endzone prior to their rivarly game with the Ole Miss Rebels.
Soon after, other schools followed: The Arizona Wildcats painted #BearDown onto their field and the Michigan Wolverines have #GoBlue on theirs. North Carolina State has #gopack printed across their 50-yard-line while #GoHogs is painted on the Arkansas Razorbacks‘ turf.
Why in the world is this a big deal?
Whether the NCAA likes it or not, we are living in the age of social media, and it’s only going to further entrench itself into our daily lives with every passing year. Instead of banning it, the organization needs to embrace it and accept it as a means for marketing and promoting their sports and member institutions.
Besides, don’t they have much, much, much more important issues to worry about?
I would say so.