Policing social media in college sports

ESPN college basketball writer Myron Medcalf looks at the lengths to which college programs are going to monitor their athletes on social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

Firms such as Varsity Monitor try to help schools corral that Internet behavior.

Varsity Monitor -- which has partnerships with Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Villanova -- offers schools a computer application that allows them to filter and identify problematic social media activity. They can search for a word, a phrase or a topic. Each school pays for a customized version of the product.

Their technology is even sophisticated enough to crack down on emerging Internet forums such as Instagram, a photo-based social media service recently purchased by Facebook.

Varsity Monitor founder Sam Carnahan said his client list has exploded in recent years, growth he attributes to the social media boom. (Carnahan said only a few of the schools his firm works with allow him to talk about their partnerships publicly.)

"It's no longer a handful," he said. "We've been on a real solid growth projection. It's substantial now across athletics, not just university athletic programs. But it's substantial."

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