Has social media had a negative effect on high school sports?

Leading Off: Rivalries can get out of hand on Internet

Published: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 - 5:35 pm

Keep it classy, kids.

Years ago, a football game between rival high schools was intensified with someone sneaking onto the opposing campus and toilet-papering the trees. Or raising underwear bearing an image of the enemy's mascot on the school's flagpole.

These days, students go to social media such as Twitter to savage foes, and often anonymously because they don't have the courage to identify themselves. Such buildup didn't help an already-simmering football rivalry between Casa Roble and Del Campo last Friday in Orangevale, where words that started in social media led to a fight during the game. Coaches from both schools have agreed to cancel the series that dates to 1976.

This week, social media barbs have been thrown between students from upstart Jesuit and top-ranked Folsom, which hosts the Marauders tonight. It's true that the actions of a few do not identify a school in general, but the larger message is this: Schools need to implement social media etiquette.

Athletes greatly underestimate how many college recruiters – from all levels – pore through social media accounts, and how fast prospects drop because of boorish posts.

The same goes for students who aren't athletes and wonder why they can't get a summer job or get into a certain college.

What to watch

Baseball playoffs, Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:30 p.m., TBS: Los Angeles looks to force a seventh game in the National League Championship Series after trailing 3-1.

Today's poll

Has social media had a negative effect on high school sports?

• Yes, student-athletes need etiquette courses

• No, it's harmless fun

Vote above, or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday's results

Who has been the 49ers' MVP thus far?

• NaVorro Bowman: 28%

• Vernon Davis: 33%

• Frank Gore: 36%

• Colin Kaepernick: 3%

Total votes: 633

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