It didn't take long for North Carolina's new beefed-up social-media policy to drive one of the school's top basketball players off Twitter.
One day after the school revealed each of its teams will have a coach or administrator responsible for monitoring the contents of players' postings, sophomore forward John Henson made it clear he's no fan of the new policy.
Although North Carolina officials told the Raleigh News & Observer that changes to the policy aren't in response to any single incident, it's probably safe to assume that the accusations against defensive lineman Marvin Austin have played a role. Austin, who's at the center of the NCAA's investigation into whether football players had improper contact with agents, posted pictures of an expensive watch for his younger sister and a bag from an ritzy sunglass store before terminating his Twitter account for good.
It's a shame that Henson felt the need to follow suit because he was one of the rare athletes whose Twitter account showcased his fun-loving personality. Henson wrote that he was being "censored" earlier this week and expressed frustration a few months ago after the coaching staff apparently addressed the team about the topic.
"Well, coach just talked to us about twitter and told us we offend some people n what not so this is a farewell to bein' myself," Henson and fellow sophomore Dexter Strickland both Tweeted.
North Carolina's new policy is more heavy-handed than those of its peers, but the school is certainly not alone in implementing social-media guidelines for its athletes. Most Division I schools warn high-profile players that they are scrutinized as public figures, reminding them not to post incriminating Facebook pictures or write anything that will become bulletin board material for an opponent.
Still, actually assigning a coach the task of poring over his players' Facebook and Twitter posts seems dangerously close to crossing the line between vigilant and invasive. If current Tar Heels feel as though the institution doesn't trust them and treats them as though they're at military school, eventually that message is going to start filtering back to potential recruits.