College football coach admits using Facebook, Twitter to spy on players

Technically Incorrect: Get a friend request from a lovely young woman? It could be one of Texas Tech's less lovely coaches.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Kliff Kingsbury, on the right, appearing on the podcast.

The HawkCast/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

College athletes live an interesting life.

They're suddenly placed on a higher plane and asked to perform daily.

They're fawned upon when they win and vilified when they lose.

In some cases, it's said that colleges are so desperate to persuade these young men to join their athletic programs that schools hire attractive young women to increase the attraction of the school.

Once athletes are on the team, though, might they continue to enjoy the attention of women? On social media, for example.

Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury believes in pretending to be an attractive woman. Just to see what his players are tweeting and posting on Twitter and Facebook.

As CBS Sports reports, he recently appeared on the HawkCast podcast (around the 21.55 mark) to reveal a secret.

"We have fake accounts with cute girls that they add right now so we can see what's going on, who's tweeting what. Those are heavily monitored, for sure," he told former Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk.

Fake accounts? Don't Facebook and Twitter rather frown on that?

Kingsbury says that he believes the players know what's going on but still accept friend requests from attractive women because "they can't resist that."

He also denied that these coaches posing as fake young women ask the players to send certain sorts of, you know, pictures. (The Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green is one who was recently compromised by sending one of those pictures of privates and failing to keep it private on Snapchat.)

A few years ago, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was subjected to a so-called catfishing scheme on social media. He believed he had an online relationship with a dying women. It turned out to have been a prank.

Might this have alerted coaches to the perils of social media?

Texas Tech told me Kinsgsbury wasn't available for comment. It's surely, though, not the only school or NFL team that spies on its players.

Some might conclude that they're only doing it for the players' benefit. These are concerned coaches who just want their players to focus on their education. I'm sorry, I mean their football.

They worry that the players will say something stupid publicly, which would make the college's mission look bad and affect education. I'm sorry, I mean funding.

Some might wonder, though, what example Kingsbury is setting.

Could the players conclude that spying on social media is an excellent, modern way to keep tabs on your charges' private lives?

What might happen if some of them go into management one day? Would they use fakery to investigate their employees on a daily basis?

The players might also wonder about coaches who are paid a fortune -- while players aren't allowed even to accept money for food -- believing that fooling players that a comely young woman finds them attractive is somehow noble.

Kingsbury admitted on the podcast that social media is "complete and utter madness."

If a top recruit tweets something at him, he said, he feels enormous pressure to reply immediately or a rival will.

He also said he doesn't think he'd have survived at all if Tinder and Twitter had been at his disposal in college. (He played for Texas Tech between 1998 and 2002.)

So all he's really doing is playing the (social media) game?

But isn't one of the tenets of this game that you don't actually tell anyone you're doing it?