Student-athletes have short leashes

Column by Kernel Editorial Board. E-mail [email protected].

The gridlock UK Athletics has on its athletes is similar to the hold most parents have over their middle school children. With the recent commotion over UK wide receiver Randall Cobb and the comments he tweeted after last weekend’s football game, that gridlock has come into light.

Following the football team’s comeback victory over No. 10 South Carolina last Saturday, Cobb expressed his displeasure towards Cats’ fans via several tweets, which were later deleted. Though Cobb also apologized for his remarks, the affair showed many followers for the first time just how much control UK Athletics has over its players. After the incident, head coach Joker Phillips “allowed” his athletes to keep their Twitter accounts.

Student-athletes on campus fall victim not only to traditional duties of athletes, such as weight lifting, dieting and practicing, but also now to the discretion of their coaches when it comes to publishing things on online social networks.

Some athletes have been told by their coaches they are not allowed to have Facebook or Twitter accounts, or they cannot set their profiles to public so anyone can view them. Though the close watch is essential in protecting the athletes and the integrity of the program, the students have the right to be just that — students.

The UK basketball team even has a nightly curfew, along with multiple mandatory peer tutoring sessions built into its daily life.

Students deserve the opportunity, even if briefly, to enjoy the advantages of being free from their demanding lives as UK athletes. Until that happens, the clash between student-athletes and UK Athletics will continue.