Michigan Intentionally ‘Catfished’ Athletes?
[Update: ESPN is now reporting that Michigan denies “catfishing” its own athletes and that the consultant firm 180 Communications just observed the social media accounts of student-athletes instead of interacting with them. This goes directly against what the Toledo Blade reported Dave Brandon said and directly against what Brady Hoke is quoted as saying, meaning the athletic department is lying because it’s embarrassed by the story or Brandon and Hoke weren’t well informed/embellished the tale for a good story.
Either way, this whole thing is starting to be as ridiculous as the Manti Te’o hoax…]
If you thought the Manti Te’o dead fake girlfriend hoax was ridiculous, check this out: Michigan intentionally “catfished” some of its own athletes to teach them about the potential pitfalls of social media (the term means creating an alternate identity online for romantic purposes as seen in the 2010 film Catfish).
In a Q&A session with reporters at the KeyBank Global Leaders Forum in Toledo, OH, on Friday, Wolverines athletic director Dave Brandon said the athletic department used a young, attractive female at a consulting firm to contact Michigan athletes on social media.
According to the Toledo Blade, “The unnamed woman turned over to athletic department officials posts and comments that were made to her, and the names of student-athletes. During a presentation to Michigan’s student-athletes regarding social media awareness, the athletic department introduced the woman to the student athletes.”
Said head football coach Brady Hoke earlier this month about the stunt, according to MLive.com: “She tried to talk to our guys. ‘Hey, what are ya doin’?’ Whatever it might be.
“Well, two months later we’re in a team meeting and we’re on the topic of what you put out there in the cyber universe ... you should have seen 115 guys when that young lady—she was hot, now; a very, very nice looking young lady—when she walked into that meeting room, and the guys looking at each other.
“Because some of them didn’t use their heads when communicating back and forth with that young lady.”
Although unconventional and really bizarre, give Hoke and Brandon credit if the lesson gets through to his players. And give it up for them mimicking “Arrested Development” and George Bluth Sr.’s memorable lessons to his kids.
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports