"Now, the coach's weekly press conference on Tuesday is not
focusing on the next football game; it's focusing on what three of
his players posted on Twitter," says Kevin Long, founder of
UDiligence, a company that monitors student-athletes' use of social
The idea is that having a monitoring program in place encourages
closer self-monitoring: the student learns to flag a regrettable
comment before hitting Tweet. Thus the schools are providing an
educational service as well as protecting the athlete's job
prospects. "When this was first introduced, I thought, Oh, do they
want to be in my business?" says Brittany Broome, a senior softball
player at Ole Miss and head of its Student-Athlete Advisory
Committee. But Broome says she came to appreciate it: "Having that
app, that kind of following, is always in the back of your head."
She says no Ole Miss athlete has complained to her about
"When one of those keywords hits, email alerts are sent to the
athlete and their coach/athletic department staff, allowing the
athlete the chance to reconsider their post before it might become
a negative news story and part of their digital legacy, impacting
their search engine presence and online reputation," said Kevin
Long, CEO of UDiligence.
Sophomoric pranks, trash talking, goofy pictures taken in a
stupor at an all-night party: the cornerstones of the college
experience. Thanks to the Internet, though, they've also
become part of a student's legacy. An embarrassing photo or caption
on a Facebook page, an attempt at humor misinterpreted as a racial
slur on Twitter, can haunt him or her during a job hunt and for
"If Rashard Mendenhall had some way of due diligence for what he
was saying, perhaps he could have mitigated it in some way,"
UDiligence CEO Kevin Long said. "Let's face it, people make bad
judgments ... and we help protect them from themselves
When UDiligence CEO Kevin Long started the company in 2008,
MySpace represented 80 percent of the accounts monitored. Facebook
represented the majority from 2009 to 2011, but Twitter has quickly
become the leader, currently representing 75 percent of the posts
flagged by UDiligence.
Striving to build and maintain a respectable reputation for its
athletes, the University of Louisville utilizes UDiligence, a
computer program that monitors the content of athletes' social
Monitoring services are protecting the student-athletes
themselves, not just the schools for which they play. When their
playing days are over questionable material athletes posted online
can come back to haunt them. Kevin Long, CEO of UDiligence,
says detecting those questionable posts and removing them
quickly has protected the reputations of some of the athletes his
company monitors. "It definitely saved that athlete a lifetime of
someone Googling their name and having this be the first thing that
In addition to explosion, for example, the list includes
xploshun and exploshun. So maybe you can't spell. Or
maybe you're smart enough to misspell a word on purpose.
Either way, you're screwed, which is also on the list.
"When I go and speak to athletes I like to call it preventing a
Google-able moment," UDiligence CEO Kevin Long said. "Having a
Google-able moment is not something you want to have. When people
Google Rashard Mendenhall now, the first thing that is going to
come up is the Twitter controversy. We reduce that risk for student
athletes. We have the best defense for making athletes Google-able
for all the right reasons."