Imhotep Charter (Penn.) High coach Marc Wilson was fed up with all his players' "extracurricular" activity the night before big football games, so he issued a curfew. Uniquely, the Imhotep curfew doesn't require the players to be in bed, or even in their own house, at 11, they just can't be on Facebook.
The trash-talking between teams and players has become a major problem.
"We've seen it happen before where individuals start an exchange on Facebook, and it leads to something that becomes more physical and realistic," Wilson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They have friended someone, who's a friend of someone we are friends with. So the word gets back eventually. It truly is an impressive network of people."
According to the Inquirer, Wilson decided to shut down his players' social networking access after issues earlier this season led to internal discipline against eight of his players.
"We just don't want that associated with our program," Wilson said. "We don't want to be guys that talk a lot of mess. We want to be guys that play well."
The Imhotep head man isn't the only Philadelphia-area coach worried about Facebook trash talk, either. The coach of Del-Valle Charter, whose team was the subject of some Imhotep players' Facebook scorn, said the website could be an intermediary to a much more serious -- perhaps even violent -- encounter.
"The football players, we all know, when you talk trash on Facebook, it's basically because of the game," Imhotep senior player Maurice Howard told the Inquirer. "But the students, the people who don't play the game, they really wouldn't understand too much, so that's why they'll take that the wrong way."
Early indications are that Wilson's restrictions are having their intended effect. Howard, who was disciplined for his Facebook use earlier this year, said he now realizes he wasn't thinking about what could happen before he posted comments on the site.
[Related: Facebook's newest feature worries some]
One of Howard's classmates added that he now recognizes teams are using the site for more than just idle banter.
"It's not just in the Public League. I believe it's everywhere," said Damean Riley, a senior at Imhotep. "[Teams] just use it as motivation to get in their heads like a psychological warfare that's going on, on Facebook."
For his part, Wilson doesn't care how other programs are using Facebook, so long as his players aren't among them late at night, particularly the night before a game.
[Rewind: Coach bans oversharing team from Twitter]
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