College athletes run for cover from fans’ cameras

In the era of Twitter and Facebook, being the big man on campus no longer means being the life of the party: The idea of a quaint campus life for star college quarterbacks like Florida’s Tim Tebow, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, and Texas’ Colt McCoy has all but disappeared, killed off by a combination of cloying fans and new technology, reports the New York Times. Athletic departments now monitor social-networking web sites, and cell phones are collected at the door of college parties to try to keep embarrassing or illegal moments off the internet. “The latest stuff with the cell phones and digital devices has erased the boundaries between public and private,” said Michael Oriard, an Oregon State professor who has written three books about the culture of college football. “It’s an enormous jump, as it’s not just ESPN or Fox cameras, but it’s everyone with a cell phone.” Oriard, a former Notre Dame football captain, said college athletes now experience the same problems of celebrities like Tom Brady and Paris Hilton, but without the monetary payoff. While shopping recently at RadioShack, Tebow was approached by a woman with a seemingly innocuous request to take a picture with him. But an instant before her mother snapped the photo with a cell phone camera, the woman tried to take off her shirt. “It’s happened four or five times,” Tebow said with a sigh. “Most of the time I just dive out of the picture. Some people can just be crazy.”

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