Social media is a beautiful thing. Giving anyone with access to the internet the ability to access up-to-date information and stay in touch with friends all over the world. Even more than friends, to be able to make contact with celebrities in a somewhat real way.
I have had that fluttery feeling when Todd Graham re-tweeted a photo of my child throwing up pitchforks and when Phoenix native Country singer Dierks Bentley favorited one of my tweets. It’s all fun and exciting, right? We can share what’s on our mind 24 hours a day and fool ourselves into thinking people really want to read it. We can “friend” people we don’t even really know and stay updated with their every experience. Sounds, awesome, right? In addition to the above benefits (some sarcastic, obviously), we must also consider that the internet never forgets. We can speak our minds and react in the form of tweets and statuses. If we come to our senses that maybe it best not shared, we can delete.
For most of us, it’s that easy. Maybe some friends rolled their eyes and judged, but that’s the extent of the harm. When you’re someone in even a little bit of public spotlight, it’s not that simple. University of Nevada head football coach Brian Polian learned this lesson on Monday night. His inept ability to do something as simple as tweet is besides the point, but Twitter has a cool feature that allows a user to privately direct message (DM) another user. It is very simple to navigate and properly choose whether to tweet something to the millions of people on Twitter versus the one person you intend to message. Last night, Polian made the mistake of tweeting instead of sending a DM.
“Be careful. I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some guys say he is a bad guy and coaches can’t stand him. ASU is a fun place but a very average ed…” The tweet that got people talking less than 48 hours before National Signing Day.
The tweet was removed from Polian’s account, but several people took screen shots. There is since much speculation on the internet in the forms of social media and sports reports as to who the tweet is about and for whom it was intended. The general consensus is that the tweet is about Todd Graham and it was intended for a recruit. No matter who the tweet was for, it served as a warning about ASU and most likely Graham. Those details will likely never come out, but Polian is clearly calling out the level of education at ASU. It’s ironic, given the rankings and the accolades ASU receives on a national and international level.
US News & World Report ranks Arizona State University (Tempe) at 129 in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges & National Universities. University of Nevada—Reno at 187. Beyond that, the descriptions from this publication point out things like, “Arizona State also offers a wide range of highly ranked graduate programs through schools including the W. P. Carey School of Business, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.” Where the publication boasts of University of Nevada—Reno are, “Each fall, students paint a big Nevada “N” on Peavine Peak, which overlooks campus. Student athletes can play at the intramural level or try out for one of the many Nevada Wolf Pack varsity sports teams.
Off campus, Nevada students can visit nearby Lake Tahoe, check out the museums and festivals of Reno and drive just a few hours to California’s capital, Sacramento, or the San Francisco Bay Area.” In one case, there is more to boast about than nearby vacation spots and painting the letter on a nearby mountain. ASU’s A mountain isn’t one of the highlights of an education at the University. US World News & Report also rank ASU as the #1 most innovative school in the country.
ASU has the 16th-most Academic All-Americans in the nation and is ranked the No. 1 Most Innovative School in the nation. #SunDevilPride
— Sun Devil Athletics (@TheSunDevils) February 2, 2016
Arizona State has far more accolades than just those from the US News & World Report. The Institute of International Education ranks ASU as the #1 public university chosen by international students. And, ASU is ranked fifth by The Wall Street Journal for producing the best-qualified graduates. So, yes, Polian is correct, ASU is fun. I can attest to this as an alum. But, an average education? Albeit a subjective topic, the rankings by those far more qualified than myself or coach Polian would beg to argue.
The clear issue with education here is that of Brian Polian and his Twitter knowledge. The Sun Devil Athletics Twitter account post, less than an hour after this debacle, very simply reacted with class and facts. “ASU has the 16th-most Academic All-Americans in the nation and is ranked the No. 1 Most Innovative School in the nation. #sundevilpride”
This isn’t the first time a coach fed opinions about another school to a recruit, and it won’t certainly be the last. But you’d assume it will be a long time before Polian puts out another Tweet without giving it a second look.