In this episode of SCI TV, Oregon Ducks’ Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olumu discusses some of the challenges presented by social media in college athletics.

With Monday’s Inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship between the University of Oregon Ducks and the Florida State University Seminoles, the importance of mitigating off-field distractions is a critical component of on-field success.

Social media will be humming with stories that for better or worse shape the image of teams and their student athletes. In an episode of SCI TV, the Ducks’ Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olumu shares his thoughts on the challenges of social media for college athletes, and how best to use that influence.

As a student athlete, “People really care about what you have to say,” Ekpre-Olumu said. “You have to at least make sure you’re sending a positive message.”

Student athletes today face a much different standard of scrutiny than previous generations. Conversations and actions that used to be private now go viral on YouTube and Twitter, creating news where there was none before.

“You have to make sure you’re doing things in public that you want to show,” Ekpre-Olumu said. “When you post something, the whole team is represented by it.”

While the Oregon football program takes first year players aside to guide them on social media usage, coaches don’t impose limits or authorization on what can and can’t be said. Ekpre-Olumu agrees that education is the best approach for managing the team’s social media use.

“The coaches trust us to live up to what they expect,” he said. “At this age, especially college students, they’re going to do whatever they want. But if they are informed, that’s the biggest thing that can help.”

If the conversation on social media usually revolves around brand building or avoiding gaffes, there is also the good that a simple message can spread.

“Making people happy with what you post,” Ekpre-Olumu says. “Give a little kid a retweet (and) he’s the happiest kid in the world the next day when he goes to school.”

Watch the entire SCI TV episode:

About SCI:

SCI supports competitive goals in athletics through understanding, preventing, and resolving destructive conflict both inside and outside the lines. SCI serves as a knowledge center and provides a range of services to help ensure student-athlete experience is part of a healthy university culture while optimizing performance on and off the field of play. Conflict is inevitable, but how we respond determines whether success follows or costs mount. SCI Founder, Joshua Gordon, has over 20 years of conflict management experience.