Players told to shut down accounts

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami's football players just got a direct message: No more Twitter.

The 17th-ranked Hurricanes have been told to stop using accounts on the popular social network, the university's athletic department said Tuesday -- making the announcement, yes, through its own Twitter feed.

Miami coach Randy Shannon was recruiting and unavailable for comment. Unlike many coaches, Shannon has not become part of the Twitter craze, saying earlier this year that he was "too old-school" to get involved with the phenomenon where people may share information in "tweets," or messages limited to 140 characters.

More than 300,000 people sign up for a Twitter account every day.

"Football program has asked players to shut down Twitter accounts. Goal is to limit distractions & focus," was the statement posted on the athletic department's account, @hurricanesports.

It's unclear when the edict was issued.

Several of Miami's top players have been prolific posters on Twitter, including quarterback Jacory Harris, defensive tackle Marcus Forston and defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke. It's unknown how many players had accounts.

Miami isn't the first team to put a Twitter ban in place.

Perhaps most notably, No. 3 Boise State was told by coach Chris Petersen this summer that players were not permitted to use the social site, also in an effort to limit distractions.

"It's just a distraction that we just don't really need to have right now. There's plenty of time in their lifetime for Twitter," Petersen told the Idaho Statesman last month.

A random check of Miami player accounts Tuesday showed Harris hadn't posted on his feed since about two hours before Miami's game at No. 2 Ohio State kicked off on Saturday. Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson's account had been silent since Monday morning. Offensive lineman Brandon Washington posted around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Several players deleted accounts entirely.

"I have fun with it," Harris told The Associated Press earlier this season. "It's something fun for me. Twitter, I think it's a new way to build your brand. ... But I'm not going to put anything on there to harm myself, this team, this university."

Shannon addressed Twitter and other social media with players earlier this season, telling them to be cautious about posting their whereabouts and too many personal details. He also urged them to not do anything that could harm their reputations, noting that items posted on Twitter and Facebook aren't easily erased.

Sports and Twitter seem to go hand-in-hand: Shaquille O'Neal, Lance Armstrong, Tony Hawk, the NBA, Serena Williams, the NFL and Dwight Howard all are among the 100 most-followed accounts on the site. LeBron James joined Twitter only a couple months ago and already has nearly 800,000 followers.