Major universities like North Carolina and Oklahoma pay companies thousands of dollars to track the online activity of their athletes, according to Pete Thamel of The New York Times.
One such company, Varsity Monitor, provides – among other services – a computer application that searches social media outlets their athletes are on for keywords, according to Thamel.
“Every school, we work to customize their keyword list,” Sam Carnahan, the chief executive of Varsity Monitor, told Thamel. “We look for things that could damage the school’s brand and anything related to their eligibility.”
According to Thamel, some believe this is an invasion of privacy, and Maryland state senator Ronald Young has sponsored a bill aimed at stopping schools from monitoring athletes digitally.
“I think it’s violating the Constitution to have someone give up their password or user name,” Young told Thamel. “It’s like reading their mail or listening to their phone calls.”