TAMPA – Never write in anger. Check your facts (in fact, double check, then triple check). Get all sides of the story.
Those are time-honored principles of journalism. No matter how much things change, they remain a solid foundation.
But the lines often are blurred as everyone has a voice in today’s mass communication. In the right hands, Twitter, that 140-character assault on the senses, can provide real-time information and wry commentary, almost serving as a virtual bookstore.
In the wrong hands, it can be a dangerous vehicle.
It’s the reason Hans Straub, who made a big impact in his one season as University of South Florida football strength and conditioning coach, lost his job on Tuesday. Straub chose to question the integrity and character of former USF defensive end Aaron Lynch, who was a fifth-round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers.
In the football culture, the weight room might be the best place for real-world truth-telling. Still, we’re not sure why Straub felt moved to comment, but it brought home the words of Bulls coach Willie Taggart, who implores his players to “think before you hit send.’’
Nearly everyone at USF athletics, like a lot of schools, is on Twitter. It is an effective way to inform. Some use it for self-promotion. The most interesting case was former USF running back Lindsey Lamar, who solely tweeted inspirational messages and thought-provoking questions. He actually made it fun.
Twitter isn’t going away. If anything, it’s getting bigger. But this week provided another reminder for coaches, staff members and athletes at USF. Heed the lesson. If it’s not used properly, social media can change lives forever.
The USF men’s golf team is the No. 5 seed in the three-round NCAA regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, which begins Thursday. The top four seeds are Georgia, UCF, UCLA and Vanderbilt.
The top five teams and top individual advance to the NCAA Championships on May 23-28 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Meanwhile, USF golfer Chase Koepka (66), Richard James (67) and Trey Valentine (68) all shot under par in the U.S. Open local qualifier on Monday, earning berths to the sectional. Kopeka is ranked 16th nationally in college golf by Golfweek. He averaged a full stroke under par this season, the first USF golfer to accomplish that feat.
Lelo Prado’s baseball team (25-27), which lost 8-2 on Tuesday at Florida, carries a four-game losing streak into this weekend’s series at Georgia Tech, which begins Thursday. The AAC tournament, which carries an automatic NCAA regional bid for the champion, begins next Wednesday at Bright House Field in Clearwater. …Men’s tennis sophomore Roberto Cid was named ITA Rookie of the Year for the Southeast region, which comprises all Division I programs in Florida and Georgia. Cid, 21-5 individually, competes in the 64-player NCAA Championships, which begin next Wednesday in Athens, Ga. Also, USF’s Brandon Wagner was selected ITA Assistant Coach of the Year in the Southeast region. …Former Marshall University point guard Kareem Canty, who will sit out next year after transferring to USF men’s basketball, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. He was an academic non-qualifier in 2012-13, when he wasn’t permitted to practice or play at Marshall. …Three USF programs – men’s tennis, women’s tennis and women’s golf – received Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for scoring in the top 10-percent nationally in the Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation.