UW Health Sports Medicine 

Lucas at Large: Bielema's Twitter message - 'Be smart'

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Bielema_Bret_BT_Media_Days_11_8.jpgBoise State football coach Chris Petersen was among the first to take a stand on social-networking and ban his players from using Twitter during the season.

"It's just a distraction that we just don't really need to have right now," Petersen said. "There's plenty of time in their lifetime for Twitter."

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier followed suit and noted "we have some dumb, immature players that put crap on their Twitter and we don't need that, so the best thing to do is just ban it."

Kansas coach Turner Gill has also banned the use of Twitter during the season.

"The reason we decided to not allow our players to have a Twitter account," Gill said, "is we feel like it will prevent us from being able to prepare our football program to move forward. Simple as that."

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck is among the most recent to ban active players from Twitter.

"We did a lot of research around the country," Hauck said. "Everybody in our league has a policy on it. You see the SEC and different people making policies, so we just decided to rein all that in."

Hauck added the policy "gives young guys less of an opportunity to make a bad decision."

UNLV wide receiver Phillip Payne was suspended by Hauck last season for "disciplinary reasons" after making some disparaging remarks via Twitter following a loss to Nevada.

"I can see why some people have banned it to be quite honest," said UW coach Bret Bielema.

A number of Badger players are active on Twitter. Bielema is paying attention, too. "We bring up guys who really post dumb things and try to show how stupid you can look at times," he said.

"We've basically always worked under the premise, 'Don't put anything out there you wouldn't want your mother to read or don't put anything out there that could motivate our opponents.'"

Bielema has always felt that having a bunch of rules can lead to a bunch of rule violations.

"I haven't banned it," he said of Twitter. "But I will, case by case, ban someone if I find them to be really really inappropriate with what they may be Facebooking or tweeting or all that jazz.

"On the same account, I think it's freedom of expression and I really don't want to be that guy that comes across as this absolute dictator that does not let kids be who they are in today's age."

Former UW player Troy Vincent, who has been working for the NFL in the area of player development and engagement, spoke to the Badgers on this topic among other things last week.

"He threw up a couple of examples of guys in our room," Bielema said, "who had tweeted something recently and how inappropriate or how silly you could look."

Bielema has been an inconsistent, if not infrequent user of Twitter.

"I try to tweet," he said. "I'm not that creative. I feel like I'm boring everybody."

But he did use Twitter to announce his captains.

"I went home at 10 o'clock and every news station had it covered," he said. "So there are some benefits to getting information out there in a controlled manner."

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