An Investigation of the Role Communication Privacy Management Theory has in the Development of Social Media Policies

Author: Heath Wesley Hooper, Shorter University
232 Shorter Avenue
Rome, GA 30165
(706) 781-5974
hhooper@shorter.edu

ABSTRACT
The increasing social media use by student-athletes has created risks for multiple intercollegiate athletic stakeholders. Consequently, many athletic departments have turned to social media policies to reduce risk in this area. Through the lens of Communication Privacy Management Theory (CPM), the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between social media policy implementation and student-athlete social media usage, and how the size of the NCAA Division I institution moderates relationships between social media policy implementation and student-athlete privacy rights. A random sample of 59 compliance directors in the Southeastern United States was surveyed. The results indicate moderate support for the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and privacy rights, boundary turbulence, monitoring of social media accounts, and banning of student-athlete social media use. Practical implications for athletics department compliance directors are discussed.

Keywords: intercollegiate athletics, communication privacy management, NCAA, student-athletes, social media policy

INTRODUCTION
Social media usage by intercollegiate student-athletes has had a major impact on the communicative landscape of collegiate athletics as evidenced by the social media misconduct issues that have arisen in the past five years (Delia & Armstrong, 2015; Browning & Sanderson, 2012; Sanderson, 2011). For example, Meriwether (2013) examined several instances of student-athletes misusing social media: (a) in 2012, University of North Alabama removed a football player after he tweeted a racially implicit tweet directed at President Obama; (b) in 2012, Ohio State University quarterback Cardale Jones posted a tweet in which he described attending pointless classes just for football players; and (c) in 2011, San Diego State University sanctioned four female soccer players for pictures illustrating alcohol use and partying. In order to reduce the negative attention, many athletics department compliance directors across the country have implemented social media policies within their university student-athlete handbook to regulate the means of communication by student-athletes (Sanderson, Snyder, Hull, & Gramlich, 2015). More recently, student-athletes misusing social media continues in 2016 when University of Alabama had three incidents involving the misuse of social media: (a) men’s basketball coach posted a picture of himself with an AAU coach, (b) as well as retweeting Twitter Posts that included specific mentions of prospective student-athletes and, (c) women’s swimming student-athlete commented on an Instagram post of a prospect (Byington, 2016).

The importance of managing social media privacy and communication of student-athletes has led researchers to explore CPM theory. These areas of research include exploring strategies of incorporating CPM theory through the coordination of privacy dilemmas in the following ways: (a) to help resolve athletic/academic advisor student-athlete relationships, (Thompson, 2011), (b) exploring privacy management through Facebook in which student-athletes had to provide social media account information to athletic administration, (Waters & Ackerman, 2011), and (c) by studying the content restrictions of social media policies within student-athlete handbooks (Sanderson, 2011).

Previous research suggests little information about the role CPM theory has in identifying how social media policies are implemented (Sanderson, Browning, & Schmittel, 2015). Athletic departments are developing social media policies within student-athlete handbooks to control the following: (a) implementation of privacy rules (Sanderson et al., 2015), (b) creating shared communication boundaries between athletic departments and student-athletes (Sanderson et al., 2015), and (c) the development of privacy boundaries as being co-owned and mutually managed through boundary coordination between student-athletes and athletic administrators (Snyder, 2014). By managing communication restrictions through a social media policy, athletic departments are essentially utilizing the components associated with CPM theory to establish specific types of communication guidelines for its student-athletes (Snyder, 2014; Sanderson, 2011). Failing to understand the rationale of implementing social media policies could have a negative impact on athletic departments and student-athletes. Student-athletes need to know and understand how their communication privileges are developed by athletic administrators (Sanderson et al., 2015). Varied evidence of the restrictions in social media policies and lack of understanding about the role communication has in establishing privacy boundaries, can cause misunderstanding and negatively impact decision making of athletic administrators.

With the development and implementation of social media policies by NCAA Division I athletic departments, the theoretical gap in the research needs to be researched by incorporating CPM theory into the framework. Previous use of CPM theory has been used in social media policy research by (Sanderson et al., 2015 & Sanderson, 2011) in which the use of CPM’s theoretical framework was used to discuss student-athletes’ ownership of social media content, as well as rules and boundaries of student-athlete social media use per the social media policy. However, previous research has yet to discover how the role of CPM theory is utilized in developing social media policies. Scholars have noted the need to assess how athletics department administrators are developing social media policies (Sanderson et al., 2015) as well as their opinions regarding privacy laws, monitoring, and restrictions of social media policies (Snyder, 2014). Therefore, by collectively researching how NCAA Division I social media policies are developed and the impact the policies have on student-athlete communication by integrating the components inherent in CPM theory, an assessment suggests how these policies are generated and the best methods for developing the policies.

LITERATURE REVIEW
Communication Privacy Management (CPM) Theory
CPM theory serves as the framework for this study. CPM theory has been used to explain communication and privacy boundaries between and among individuals (Sanderson et al., 2015; Sanderson, 2011; Thompson, 2011; Waters & Ackerman, 2011). Petronio (1991) developed CPM theory to provide an understanding of how individuals manage their private information. The original concept of CPM theory was initially applied to interpersonal communication contexts (Petronio, 2007); however, theoretical research has expanded with the introduction of computer-mediated communication. Chennamaneni and Taneja (2015) employed CPM theory to examine the effects of individual motives, communication practices and privacy concerns on the amount and depth of self-disclosure on Facebook. CPM theory has also been applied to the study of NCAA Division I social media policies (Sanderson et al., 2015; Sanderson, 2011), exploring privacy dilemmas between student-athletes and academic advisor’s interpersonal relationship (Thompson, 2011), and exploring student-athlete’s privacy management on Facebook (Waters & Ackerman, 2011). CPM theory includes not only online privacy and communication between individuals, but through the development of communication boundaries, the development and regulation of boundaries through policy (Snyder, 2014).

CPM theory is predicated on five components (Petronio, 2002; Thompson, 2011). The first component suggests that individuals define their personal and private information as a sense of ownership, belonging to them (Petronio, 2002; Thompson, 2011). The private information of an individual is contained within his/her privacy boundary. The second component elaborates on the initial component posting that because people believe they own their private information, they have a right to regulate their information (Petronio, 2002; Thompson, 2011). In essence, individuals believe they should not have to disseminate their private information even if a policy is enforced. The third element suggests that people control their own private information through privacy rules (Petronio, 2002; Thompson, 2011). Each individual has a right to control and own his/her own information as he/she deems appropriate. Component four introduces shared privacy boundaries between individuals that are co-owned and mutually managed (Petronio, 2002; Thompson, 2011). Essentially, privacy boundaries between individuals help control communication and dissemination of information through the development of communication policies (Sanderson, 2011). The last component explains that when shared boundaries are present, information and communication is managed through the use of boundary coordination (Thompson, 2011; Petronio, 2002). The tenets of CPM are demonstrated through the development of NCAA Division I social media policies in which athletic administrators manage student-athlete’s social media communication through restrictions of a social media policy (Sanderson et al., 2015). Therefore, based on the components of CPM theory, the study investigated the role CPM theory has in social media policy implementation and to what extent there is a relationship between social media policy implementation and student-athlete social media usage.

Social Media and Intercollegiate Athletics
Social media has become a prevalent mode of communication between people, contributing to various social media platforms providing instantaneous communication to occur at the touch of a button. Social networking platforms have provided new ways for people to establish, and maintain relationships through online interaction (Waters & Ackerman, 2011). NCAA Division I student-athletes often create social media controversy and often get unclear or conflicting messages about social media from coaches and athletic administrators (Browning & Sanderson, 2012). Previous research on social media has provided many benefits and constructs in terms of usage by student-athletes, professional athletes, marketing companies and colleges in disseminating information to the public (Sanderson et al., 2015; Browning and Sanderson, 2012; Van Namen, 2012). There is an underlying issue on exactly how student-athletes and NCAA colleges and universities are controlling the usage of social media. Sanderson et al., (2015) elaborates that future research studies need to focus on content restrictions of social media usage along with the lack of social media training for student-athletes.

Social media has a major influence within the communicative landscape of intercollegiate athletics and its student-athletes (e.g., Delia & Armstrong, 2015; Sanderson & Browning 2013; Browning & Sanderson, 2012; Sanderson, 2011) as illustrated by the evolution of sport communication practices at NCAA institutions (Clavio & Walsh, 2014; Sanderson & Hambrick, 2012). The growth of social media within collegiate athletics is seen on a daily basis through college athletics department social media postings, head coach mentions and followers through Twitter, and most importantly through the student-athlete’s fingertips (Sanderson et al., 2015). Athletics department compliance directors have had an increase in social media knowledge given the formation of social media policies currently being presented in student-athlete handbooks throughout NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions (Sanderson & Browning, 2013; Snyder, 2014).

Student-Athlete Policies on Social Media Use
Research concerning social media policies and legislation in intercollegiate athletics is minimal as social media guidelines are still underrepresented in athletic departments (Sanderson et al., 2015). Social media policies do exist at both public and private colleges and universities with some of these schools having differing methods of monitoring social media, executing policies, or allowing the student-athletes the freedom of using social media platforms (Browning & Sanderson, 2012).

The increase of technology and instantaneous communication via social media platforms is creating public relations issues for college athletic programs and student-athletes (Delia & Armstrong, 2015). Permanent online interaction permeates information that is truly never erased which places colleges and universities at risk (Van Namen, 2012). When a prospective student-athlete signs a national letter of intent to attend a university, the student-athlete’s rights and image become adjacent to the university. This scholarship enforces student-athletes to abide by the rules of the coach, team, athletics department and most importantly the institution. Establishing vivid standards for student-athletes enables the coach, athletics department and university to effectively and actively monitor use of social media. There are three primary approaches to evaluate the unique circumstances placed on student athletes: a) student-athletes are bound to the university after a scholarship form has been signed in which each student-athlete must uphold certain policies and standards; b) institutions may expect student-athletes to participate and meet standards of community participation, role model for younger generation, and be positive representatives of the institution; and c) student-athletes have less privacy expectations than the general student population because they place their selves in the public eye competing on a university athletic team.

The University of Michigan’s policy iterates that athletes must maintain a high standard of honor and dignity reflective of university’s athletic program when posting on social media sites and that any negative behavior exemplified violates team or institutional standards could result in team suspension or even termination of scholarship (Woo, 2006). The following are further examples of colleges having to sanction athletes because of misuse of social media: two athletes at University of Colorado received citations for harassment by campus police based on racial messages posted on profiles; Louisiana State University (LSU) dismissed swimmers after posting negative comments about their coaches; Northwestern University women’s soccer team members received team sanctions for photos released on social media from a hazing event that took place off-campus (Van Namen, 2012).

The NCAA has not implemented a policy on the use of social media by student-athletes, but instead has encouraged and allowed institutions to implement their own appropriate standards for student-athletes (Van Namen, 2012). The NCAA restricts student-athletes use of social media through the recruitment of potential student-athletes, but the primary purpose of this restriction is to limit the contacts between coaches and prospective student-athletes (Hernandez, 2013). The established rules through recruitment of prospective student-athletes via social media platforms have been structured and these regulations were generated by the NCAA’s member institutions (Hernandez, 2013). USA Today researched social networking policies for 27 schools in six major conferences (Wolken, 2013). Five of the schools including Auburn, Iowa State, Ohio State, Miami, and North Carolina already have monitoring in place; while other institutions are warning athletes of the dangers of social media through policies, meetings, coaches’ discussions and tutorial training (Van Namen, 2012). A few examples of these institutions and their social media policy in place are: Ohio State requires their athletes to have a public social media page and to add coaches and administrators as “friends” or “followers” to adequately monitor; the Missouri Track and Field coach prefers to have team captains monitor teammates accounts; and Kentucky football players are told to pretend they are interviewing when tweeting and imagine each post beginning with “Dear General Manager” (Van Namen, 2012).

Regulation of Social Media by Athletic Administrators
Social media research has presented relevant information towards understanding the uses of social media by student-athletes. Within an athletic department, it is the Director of Compliance’s responsibility to oversee student-athlete misconduct, including the damaging effects social media can have on each individual athlete (Clavio & Walsh, 2014). Sanderson (2011) stated the need for research attention on how athletic departments decide whether social media content will be monitored, who delegates these policies, and why some athletic departments do not implement a social media policy for student-athletes to follow. The influence of social media policies for student-athletes is a critical topic for the future of research (Sanderson et al., 2015). The administration of an athletics department decides what policies will be implemented for its student-athletes, and the compliance director is always the individual that oversees these policies (Clavio & Walsh, 2014).

Previous social media research on student-athlete social media usage has focused on questionable content (Miller et al., 2010; Roberts & Roach, 2009; Sanderson 2011), ethical dilemmas (Garber, 2011), social interactions (Browning & Sanderson, 2012; Sanderson & Truax, 2014), and legal issues (Epstein, 2011; Hopkins, Hopkins, & Whelton, 2013; Mayer, 2013; Parkinson, 2011). Each of the areas of social media research mentioned above, touches on the importance of discovering how and why student-athletes use social media, the training of social media usage to student-athletes, and the reasoning behind collegiate athletic departments implementing a social media policy for student-athletes. Research has previously been conducted on NCAA Division I social media policies illustrating the content restrictions presented in the results (Sanderson, 2011) and the collection of data in social media policies found within student-athlete handbooks at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels (Sanderson et al., 2015). It is important to note; these studies did not express communication through a survey with athletics department administrators discovering the reasons behind implementing or not implementing a social media policy for student-athletes. As social media continues to grow with student-athletes and athletic departments, an exploration and synopsis of compliance directors becomes a necessary component to be encompassed in scholarly research. The research questions are designed to measure to what extent social media policy implementation is related to privacy rights, boundary turbulence, monitoring, and social media banning of NCAA Division I student-athlete’s social media accounts (Snyder, 2014; Waters & Ackerman, 2011).

METHOD
The purpose of this quantitative correlation study was to examine the relationship between social media policy implementation and student-athlete social media usage; and whether the size of the NCAA Division I institution moderates the relationship between social media policy implementation and student-athlete privacy rights. By measuring the responses from NCAA Division I compliance directors located across the southeast region of the U.S., this proposed study examined to what extent social media policy implementation is related to privacy rights, boundary turbulence, monitoring, and social media banning of NCAA Division I student-athlete’s social media accounts (Snyder, 2014; Waters & Ackerman, 2011). The following research questions are established to address the applications of the study.

  • RQ1. To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and privacy rights of student-athletes?
  • RQ2. To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and boundary turbulence of student-athletes?
  • RQ3. To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media account monitoring of student-athletes?
  • RQ4. To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media banning of student-athletes?
  • RQ5. Based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions scale, does size of NCAA Division I Four-Year Institutions moderate the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and the First Amendment right of student-athletes?

Participants
Recruitment was conducted by contacting each of the 118 compliance directors at NCAA Division I institutions in the southeastern United States, through an introductory email that provided discussion of informed consent, introduce the research objectives and goals and asked each individual unit to take part in the study. Titles and contact information were attained through each of the athletic department’s directory online. A total of 82 compliance directors took the survey. The survey link was sent to each of the participants at the beginning of the 10-day survey period, and a reminder email was sent three days prior to the end of the survey period. All 118 compliance directors received the results of the study once the survey period was closed.

Measures
Instrumentation consisted of a one-time web-based survey generated through Survey Monkey. The researcher disseminated the surveys via email with the link to the online survey. The primary instrument used in the survey included a modified version of the Perception of Social Media Policy Items (PSMPI) (Snyder, 2014). A total of 24 items were utilized within the PSMPI instrument that included both closed-ended and dichotomous questions (Snyder, 2014). The eight initial survey questions were closed-ended and related specifically to the rationale of the compliance director’s development of the athletic department’s social media policy (Snyder, 2014). The survey then presented 16 dichotomous questions in two distinct areas designed to measure the compliance director’s perceptions of policies that monitor, and/or ban the use of social media by its student-athletes (Snyder, 2014). The following perceptions of compliance directors in the development of social media policies were found to be of importance according to previous literature (Sanderson et al., 2015; Snyder, 2014; and Sanderson, 2011): (a) compliance director’s perception of social media policies that monitor (eight questions), and (b) compliance director’s perception of social media policies that ban usage (eight questions). The answer choices ranged from “unacceptable” to “acceptable” or “no opinion” (Snyder, 2014). If the compliance director decided to choose “no opinion”, the item was omitted from the statistical analysis (Snyder, 2014). Both the eight item ‘closed ended perception of the effectiveness of CPM theory’ (α = 0.791) and the 16 item ‘perception of compliance directors’ (α = 0.993) without any omissions exhibited strong internal consistency. Internal consistency of the research ensures that the various items measuring the different constructs deliver consistent scores throughout the survey.

Data Analysis
Research questions were analyzed using SPSS 22. First, a series of descriptive statistics were conducted on the survey questions. As all questions were categorical, a frequency table was constructed reporting the sample sizes and percentages of response for all response categories associated with these measures. Following this step, a series of inferential statistical tests were conducted in order to answer this study’s five research questions. With respect to the first four research questions, Fisher’s exact tests were used in order to determine whether significant associations are present between all pairs of variables in question. Next, in order to answer research question five, a logistic regression analysis was conducted on a separate data set which was assembled for the specific purpose of testing this fifth research question. This data set was assembled by using each NCAA Division I institution was ranked in accordance to the Size Categories at four year institutions scale: (a) very small <1,000; (b) small = 1,000-2,999; (c) Medium = 3,000-9,999; and (d) Large = 10,000+ (Carnegie Classification, 2016). Size determination of the variable were based on the Carnegie Classifications rankings from the 2015 Facts and Figures, all which have already been calculated.

RESULTS
Descriptive Statistics
Initially, a series of descriptive statistics were conducted on these data (full information is available, in Appendix A). As all survey measures were categorical, this consisted of a frequency table reporting the sample sizes and percentages of response for all response categories associated with these survey items. Within the text, only the two most common response categories will be focused upon.

First, with regard to the elements of the respondents’ athletic department’s social media policy, 41.1% indicated that there was a limitation on what a student-athlete can post, while 28.8% indicated that there was 24/7 monitoring by athletics department personnel. Next, with regard to who created the social media policy, 69.9% of individuals indicated that this was the athletic department, with 20.5% of respondents stating that this was something other than what was listed in the response categories to this question.

Respondents also were asked their thoughts about why their institution implemented a social media policy. In total, 79.5% stated that this was to reduce social media misuse by student-athletes, while 15.1% stated that there has been a public relations issue with social media in the past. Respondents were then asked whether they were able to provide input into the social media policy. In total, 65.7% indicated that they were, with the remaining 34.3% indicating that they were not. With respect to how respondents inform student-athletes of the social media policy, 79.5% stated that this was done through a team meeting, with 50.7% indicating that this was done through the athletics department (respondents were allowed to choose more than one response). With respect to respondents’ level of agreement with the social media policy, 46.5% were found to strongly agree, with 29.6% agreeing. With respect to the level of agreement the athletics department has with the social media policy, the perception of compliance directors indicated they believed that the athletics department were to strongly agree in 63.4% of cases, and were found to agree in 25.4% of cases.

Respondents were then asked whether the social media policy has affected student-athlete social media use. In total, 65.7% of respondents indicated that student-athletes are more careful regarding their postings, while 25.7% stated that there was no change. Next, regarding banning, a complete ban on use was found to be unacceptable to 90.3% of respondents, with 5.6% having no opinion. A complete ban during game-day was found to be acceptable among 59.7% of respondents, and unacceptable among 31.9%. Next, no banning was found to be acceptable among 49.3% of respondents, with 40.8% stating that this was unacceptable. With respect to banning the use of certain words, this is found to be acceptable among 87.3% of respondents, and unacceptable among 11.3%.

Following this was a series of questions focusing upon ban on use for a specified number of minutes prior to game-time. First, with regard to a ban on use 30 minutes prior to game-time (MLB), 78.9% of respondents felt that this was acceptable, with 12.7% indicating no opinion in response to this question. Following this, respondents were asked about a ban on use 45 minutes prior to game-time (NBA). In total, 76.4% of respondents felt that this was acceptable, with 13.9% of individuals stating that they had no opinion. With regard to a ban on use 90 minutes prior to game-time (NFL), 73.6% of respondents indicated that they felt this was acceptable, with 15.3% replying with no opinion. With respect to a ban on use 120 minutes prior to game-time (NHL), 72.2% of respondents stated that this was acceptable, with 15.3% indicating no opinion in response to this question. Next, with regard to a complete ban while in-season, 65.3% of respondents felt that this was unacceptable, with 31.9% stating that this was acceptable.

The following set of questions posed to respondents focused upon monitoring. First, with regard to monitoring by their team captain, 51.4% stated that this was acceptable, with 43.1% feeling that this was unacceptable. With respect to monitoring by their coach, 88.9% of respondents felt that this was acceptable, with 11.1% indicating that this was unacceptable. With respect to monitoring by their athletics director, 54.2% of respondents indicated that this was acceptable, with 36.1% stating that this was unacceptable. Next, respondents were asked their opinion regarding monitoring by their athletics department staff member. In total, 80.6% of respondents stated that this was acceptable, with 15.3% stating that this was unacceptable. With regard to monitoring by an institutional employee, 52.8% indicated that this was unacceptable, with 37.5% stating that this was acceptable. Following this, individuals were asked about their opinion regarding monitoring by an outsourced company. In total, 62.5% of respondents stated that this was acceptable, with 30.6% stating that this was unacceptable. Finally, with respect to no monitoring, 65.3% of respondents stated that this was unacceptable, with 20.8% stating that this was acceptable.

Research Question 1: To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and privacy rights of student-athletes?

Survey questions 1 and 2 were focused upon with respect to NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, while survey question 10 (all monitoring items) were focused upon as measures of the privacy rights of student-athletes. A series of Fisher’s exact tests were conducted in order to determine the extent of the relationship, if any, between these two measures. Significant associations were indicated between 24/7 monitoring by athletics department personnel and the reason provided: “Monitoring by an athletics department staff member (p = .021 < .05) as well as no monitoring (p = .040 < .05).” Additionally, a statistically significant association was indicated between 24/7 monitoring by outside personnel and the reason provided: “Monitoring by an outsourced company (p = .046 < .05).” Out of this set of analyses conducted, only these three statistical tests were found to achieve statistical significance. These results indicate that there is some relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and the privacy rights of student-athletes, though this relationship was found to be minimal.

Research Question 2: To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and boundary turbulence of student-athletes?

Survey questions 1 and 2 were focused upon as the measure of NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, while survey questions 3 and 8 were focused upon as the measure of boundary turbulence of student-athletes. Another set of Fisher’s exact tests were conducted in order to explore this research question. Several of the analyses conducted were found to achieve statistical significance. First, a significant association was indicated between 24/7 monitoring by outside personnel and the reason provided of: “To reduce social media misuse by athletes” (p = .016 < .05). Next, two significant associations were found with the response of “My institution does not have a social media policy.” This item was found to have significant associations with the following two reasons provided: “To reduce social media misuse by athletes and the question asking “How has the social media policy affected student-athlete social media use?” (p = .000 < .001). Following this, the response of “Unsure” was found to be significantly associated with the reason provided: “To allow the University to provide the program’s message to the public” (p = .027 < .05). Finally, three significant associations were indicated with the question posed to respondents asking who created the social media policy. Responses to this question were found to be significantly associated with the following three reasons provided: “To reduce social media misuse by athletes” (p = .002 < .01), “There has been a public relations issue with social media in the past” (p = .015 < .05), and the question asking “How has the social media policy affected student-athlete social media use?” (p = .006 < .001). The results indicated through exploring this study’s second research question, that a moderate degree of support was indicated for the presence of a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and boundary turbulence of student-athletes.

Research Question 3: To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media account monitoring of student-athletes?
As in the previous research questions, survey questions 1 and 2 were focused upon as the measure of NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, while survey questions 1 and 10 (all monitoring questions) were focused upon as a measure of social media account monitoring of student-athletes. First, with respect to the associations between survey questions 1, 2, and 10, these were analyzed in the analysis conducted exploring research question one.

Table 1: Performance Scores of Social Media Policy Elements and Social Media Account Monitoring of Social Media

Measure Fisher’s p
What are the elements of your athletic department’s social media policy?  
Complete ban on use by student-athletes .215
Limitation on what a student-athlete can post on the sites .142
24/7 monitoring by athletics department personnel .851
24/7 monitoring by outside personnel .146
My institution does not have a social media policy .013*
Unsure .215

Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

Only one of the analyses out of the six conducted were found to achieve statistical significance, which consisted of the relationship between responses to the question of who created the social media policy and the reason provided: “Institution does not have a social media policy” (p = .013 < .05). These results, combined with the results of the analyses conducted in order to answer research question one suggest the minimal presence of a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media account monitoring of student-athletes.

Research Question 4: To what extent is there a relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media banning of student-athletes?
In addition to the questions focusing upon NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, survey question 9 (the section focusing upon banning), was focused upon as the measure of social media banning of student-athletes. Additional Fisher’s exact tests were conducted in order to answer this research question.

The results of the analyses were conducted by focusing upon the association between survey question one, one of the measures of NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, and social media banning of student-athletes. Out of this set of analyses, a total of five Fisher’s exact tests were found to achieve statistical significance. First, a significant association was found between cases in which student-athletes were limited with regard to what they can post on the sites, and the reason provided: “Complete ban during game-day” (p = .031 < .05). Next, a significant association was also indicated between 24/7 monitoring by outside personnel and the reason provided: “No banning” (p = .017 < .05). Following this, three significant associations were found with the lack of a social media policy in the respondent’s institution and the reasons provided: “No banning” (p = .044 < .05), “Banning the use of certain words” (p = .035 < .05), and “Ban on use 120 minutes prior to game time” (NHL) (p = .037 < .05). Additional Fisher’s exact tests were conducted in order to determine whether significant associations exist between survey questions 2 and 9. The results fail to indicate any statistically significant results based on p < .05. However, overall the results of the analyses conducted in relation to this fourth research question indicate some relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and social media banning of student-athletes.

Table 2: Performance Scores of Social Media Policy Elements and Social Media Banning of Student-Athletes

Measure Fisher’s p
Complete ban on use .498
Complete ban during game-day .911
No banning .399
Banning use of certain words .581
Ban on use 30 minutes prior to game-time (MLB) .521
Ban on use 45 minutes prior to game-time (NBA) .491
Ban on use 90 minutes prior to game-time (NFL) .618
Ban on use 120 minutes prior to game time (NHL) .618
Complete ban while in-season .649

Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

Research Question 5: Based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions scale, does size of NCAA Division I Four-Year Institutions moderate the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and the First Amendment right of student-athletes?
A separate data set was constructed and analyzed in order to answer this research question. First, with regard to size category, 12 institutions (10.3%) were found to have a size of between 1,000 and 2,999, with 45 institutions (38.5%) found to have a size between 3,000 and 9,999, and 60 institutions (51.3%) found to have a size of 10,000 or more. With regard to social media policy, this was found to exist in 74 institutions (63.2%), and was not found to be the case in the remaining 43 (36.8%). Finally, with regard to content restrictions, this was found to be the case in 71 institutions (60.7%), and was not found to be the case in the remaining 46 (39.3%). A logistic regression analysis was conducted in which the First Amendment rights of students was incorporated as the outcome measure of interest, along with size of the institution, NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, and the interaction between these two predictors as the three independent variables in the analysis. Overall, no statistically significant results were found based on p < .05. The results of this analysis failed to indicate a significant impact of size of the institution, social media policy implementation, or the interaction between these two measures on First Amendment rights of student-athletes. This fails to indicate any significant moderation.

Table 3: Performance Scores of Interaction Between Social Media Policy Implementation and First Amendment Rights

Measure B SE

Wald χ2 (df)

Size .000 8756.289 .000 (1)
Social Media Policy 78.301 27892.226 .000 (1)
Size * Social Media Policy -18.186 10666.885 .000 (1)
Constant -21.203 21071.019 .000 (1)

Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001. Model χ2(3) = 135.348, p < .001; Cox & Snell R2 = .686, Nagelkerke R2 = .929; Percentage predicted correctly = 97.4%.

DISCUSSION
Based on the statistics and findings of this research, an undertaking of the role CPM theory has in developing social media policies by an athletics department was presented. Research question one focused on the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and privacy rights of student-athletes. This finding aligns with component three of CPM theory, which proposes that the way people control their own private information is through the use of privacy rules. Findings of the research study indicated that there is statistical significance associated with monitoring of a student-athlete’s social media account. Research question two focused on the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and boundary turbulence of student-athletes. Component five of CPM theory proposes that when shared boundaries are present, information and communication is managed through the use of boundary coordination. Findings of this research indicated that there is statistical significance associated with boundary turbulence of student-athlete’s social media use. Research questions three and four illustrate that monitoring and banning of social media use by NCAA Division I compliance directors exists. For example, 28.8% of NCAA Division I athletics department compliance directors have initiated 24/7 monitoring by athletics department personnel and 23.3% have 24/7 monitoring by outside personnel. This provides clarification that component four of CPM theory, shared privacy boundaries between individuals are co-owned and mutually managed by the athletics department administrators. Monitoring student-athlete’s social media accounts is a complete circumvention of individual privacy of these student-athletes. Not only does this take away the student-athlete’s First Amendment rights but it also does not allow a college aged adult to be open to the same opportunities other college students have. The student freedom of speech comes from a case noted as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District in which Tinker held that students and teachers maintain freedom of speech rights while on school grounds and engaged in school activities, and school administrators (O’Hara, 2015). The results of the case found that a school cannot or may not prevent a student from exercising the First Amendment right unless their conduct was deemed detrimental or inappropriate to the operation of the school. Tinker case allows student-athletes at public institutions to take the initial step in contesting the NCAA’s current policy, claiming their social media speech has First Amendment protection. The most important note stemming from this case wherein correlates to social media privileges in today’s colleges and universities was that NCAA student-athletes are privileged to participate in college athletics and it is not a right as mentioned previously (O’Hara, 2015).

The results of the study expand the theoretical understanding of the components supporting CPM as it relates to communicative choices and boundaries of NCAA Division I athletic departments and student-athletes. This finding indicates that communicative choices by student-athletes are managed and coordinated by a second party (athletic departmental staff and social media policy). CPM theoretical components three, four, and five adhere to these results confirming the role CPM has in developing social media policies. Component three proposes that the way people control their own private information is through the use of privacy rules (Thompson, 2011). Component four introduces shared privacy boundaries between individuals that are co-owned and mutually managed (Thompson, 2011). And, component five explains that when shared boundaries are present, information and communication administered to the student-athletes through the incorporation of a social media policy.

It is evident when reviewing the results of this study that there is a vested interest in social media policies by NCAA Division I compliance directors. In addition, the perceptions of social media on banning and monitoring social media revealed the use of these two techniques in order to control student-athlete social media usage. Regardless of how an athletics department decides to restrict or not restrict social media use by student-athletes, all student-athletes need to be aware of how and why a social media policy is implemented. The fact that 79.5% of compliance directors stated that a social media policy was implemented in order to reduce social media misuse by student-athletes is a high response.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT
By conducting a research study such as this, NCAA athletic department administrators will be able to more effectively develop social media policies, conduct social media training, and consider the effect banning and monitoring of social media can have on student-athletes. By incorporating CPM theory into the development of social media policies, research will contribute to the growing theoretical framework as well as provide future resources for managing communication of individuals. This study not only attempted to clarify a theoretical gap in the literature, but also benefit the academic community and all NCAA athletic department administrators through the expansion of awareness from the findings. From this study, compliance directors can research and see what other colleges and universities are doing to control social media usage and the policies that are currently utilized in the student-athlete handbook.

The study attempted to relate how social media policies are developed through the principles of CPM theory. Survey question 1 asked respondents “What are the elements of your athletic department’s social media policy?” Results indicated that 41.1% of compliance directors indicated that there was a limitation on what a student-athletes can post on the sites, while 28.8% indicated that there was 24/7 monitoring of student-athlete social media use by an athletics department personnel. This survey question indicates that communicative choices by student-athletes are managed and coordinated by a second party (athletic departmental staff and social media policy). CPM theoretical principles three, four, and five adhere to these results confirming the role CPM has in developing social media policies. Principle three proposes that the way people control their own private information is through the use of privacy rules (Thompson, 2011). Principle four introduces shared privacy boundaries between individuals that are co-owned and mutually managed (Thompson, 2011). In addition, principle five explains that when shared boundaries are present, information and communication is managed with boundary coordination. Survey question 3 asked respondents “Why do you think your institution implemented a social media policy?” Results indicated that 79.5% stated that this was to reduce social media misuse by student-athletes, while 15.1% stated that there has been a public relations issue with social media in the past. This survey question indicates that the majority of athletic departments implemented a social media policy in order to reduce social media misuse. This majority response is in direct correlation to principle four of CPM theory, in which a rules based management system is initiated. The rule-based management system functions on three management processes: (a) privacy rule foundations based on the ways the rules are developed and its properties (i.e. student-athletes, athletic administrators); (b) process of boundary coordination which reflects how privacy is regulated through the rules when two groups are managing collective boundaries; and (c) boundary turbulence must be indicated to signify the repercussions if privacy rules are not abided by between the two groups of individuals (Petronio, 2002). Survey question 8 asked respondents “How has the social media policy affected student-athlete social media use?” Results indicated 65.7% of respondents indicated that student-athletes are more careful regarding their postings, while 25.7% stated that there was no change. This survey question indicates that the implementation of social media policies has lowered the misuse of social media by its student-athletes, according to the sample of respondents. Principle three of CPM theory indicates that privacy rules are implemented in order to control private information. The athletic department implements the social media policy in order to control student-athlete social media usage. These survey questions were implemented and asked to the compliance directors to record their responses but also to relate the responses back to the theoretical principles that are conveyed through the CPM theory. If athletic departments can understand how communication is managed based upon confounding principles, it could help alleviate difficulties in managing social media usage by student-athletes.

The regulation of social media use by intercollegiate athletic departments is evident in the restrictions, banning and/or monitoring of student-athlete social media use. A lack of similarity exists among the NCAA and its member institutions in how social media is depicted to its internal constituents. In order to improve this existing issue, the NCAA needs to take a uniform stance on managing a social media policy for all NCAA athletic departments to abide by. Until this issue is resolved, various schools will conduct their own social media restrictions on student-athletes and social media misuse by student-athletes will remain an issue.

CONCLUSION

Based on the statistics and findings of this research study, an undertaking of the role CPM theory has in developing social media policies by an athletic department is established. Research question one focuses on the relationship between the dependent variable NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and privacy rights of student-athletes. In correlation to principle three of CPM theory, proposes that the way people control their own private information is through the use of privacy rules. Findings of the research study indicated that there is statistical significance associated with monitoring of a student-athlete’s social media account (“monitoring by outsourced company,” p = .046<.05), and (“monitoring by athletic department staff member,” p = .021<.05). Research question two focuses on the relationship between NCAA Division I social media policy implementation and boundary turbulence of student-athletes. Principle five of CPM theory proposes that when shared boundaries are present, information and communication is managed through the use of boundary coordination. Findings of the research study indicated that there is statistical significance associated with boundary turbulence of student-athlete’s social media use (p = .016<.05). Survey question three asks respondents “Why do you think your institution implemented a social media policy?” Statistics supported the significant response that correlated to CPM theory principle five was (“to reduce social media misuse by student by student-athletes,” p = .016<.05). Research questions three and four provides indication that monitoring and banning of social media use by NCAA Division I student-athletes exists. In regards to research question three, social media account monitoring, survey question 1 illustrates that 28.8% of NCAA Division I athletic department compliance directors have initiated “24/7 monitoring by athletics department personnel” and 23.3% have “24/7 monitoring by outside personnel.” This provides clarification that principle four of CPM theory, shared privacy boundaries between individuals are co-owned and mutually managed, is evident in the survey results. In regards to research question four, banning the use of social media, survey question 10 indicated the following descriptive statistics: 59.7% of compliance directors felt it was acceptable to “completely ban the use of social media on game day,” 87.3% felt it was acceptable to “ban the use of certain word,” and 31.9% felt it was acceptable to use a “complete ban while in-season.” These results provide indication that NCAA Division I social media use by student-athletes is mutually managed and shared boundaries are present between athletic department personnel and student-athletes.

The results of the study expand the theoretical understanding of the principles supporting CPM theory as it relates to communicative choices and boundaries of NCAA Division I athletic departments and student-athletes. Analysis of the data collected for the research study provided appropriate evidence to conclude that there is a relationship between the dependent variable, NCAA Division I social media policy implementation, and the independent variables: privacy rights, boundary turbulence, social media account monitoring, and social media banning of student-athletes. These results assisted in the lack of understanding of the role CPM theory has in developing social media policies. The implementation of NCAA Division I social media policies by athletic departments across the country creates privacy management issues of social media use by NCAA Division I student-athletes (Snyder, 2014; Hernandez, 2013; Browning & Sanderson, 2012; Sanderson, 2011).

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