Last year, when Twitter was a hot topic among the Big 12, when the Kansas football and basketball teams were airing their differences online, Kansas State coaches were surprisingly liberal regarding their stances on policing their athletes’ social site habits.
A year later, it’s safe to say that while no wide-sweeping changes have been made (yet), the “you can’t watch everything they do” attitude has likely changed in Manhattan.
The K-State men’s basketball team tried to head off any problems prior to this season, having its players sit through social media training – a lot of which focused on Twitter.
Not everyone got the training, however, and he may have needed it the most.
Jamar Samuels wasn’t a part of the training session as he worked to get out of head coach Frank Martin’s doghouse, and the on-going sore subject had its freshest Band-Aid ripped off this past Friday as the 21-year-old junior, expected to be a team leader this year, tweeted earlier prior to the Texas Southern game that his after-game plans involved "getting twisted tonight."
*For those of you not up to date on your college-speak, that means “not sober” in some fashion.
Samuels did not play in the Wildcats’ win, and Martin wouldn’t address his player afterward, saying only “let’s talk about the guys that played.”
That phrase is a Martin go-to when he’s dealing with a disciplinary issue.
In any case, yes, Samuels is an of-age college kid, and you could debate all day long that it’s his right to do whatever he wants with his time and his Twitter account. However, as someone expected to be a K-State University representative, something the entire athletic department tirelessly stresses, it’s another case of really poor judgment for a team that has had its leadership questioned by its head coach multiple times already this year.
Now, was Samuels "officially" suspended for the tweet? "Officially," no, he wasn’t. But, that is a giant load of circumstantial evidence – and unfortunate regardless.
As for the football side…
While fans were hoping for a bounce-back dominating performance in the Lonestar State – one that would elicit some good vibes heading into bowl season – that goal didn’t matter apparently to at least one Wildcat player.
He didn’t have any bearing on the surprisingly (horrifyingly?) competitive 49-41 KSU win over North Texas, but perhaps freshman offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas’ tweets from the day before help shed some light on the slow start and inconsistent performance in Denton, Texas.
With one game to go, the regular season’s work was already over at 6-5 – according to him.
When it was suggested that his comment probably didn’t reflect the right sort of attitude for a team riddled with inconsistencies and looking for its own sort of “defining” win to end the regular season, Lucas didn’t back down. Instead, he reinforced his first thought that it didn’t matter whether the team won or lost.
Though KSU doesn’t have to sweat it, he was probably right. The Wildcats, known for bringing the house in terms of fan support at bowl games, are attractive to many bowls for that sole reason; not to mention the fanbase is hungry to do some travelling after missing on bowls every year since 2007.
Bill Snyder’s central key to his overall message is to get better each day. Makes one wonder if that message is resonating with Lucas and other players who are willing to throw games away because they feel just getting bowl eligible is the end goal and not just the first, little step toward something much larger.
Or, he could just be a freshman.
Either way, on all fronts, it would serve K-State well to examine its current Twitter policies & guidelines before the next line, whatever it looks like, gets crossed and there is a real issue at hand.
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