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University of Michigan ‘Catfished’ its own players to teach them dangers of social media (and, guess what, they received ‘wholly inappropriate’ replies)

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By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 14:20 EST, 1  February 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:51 EST, 1 February 2013

The University of Michigan has revealed it  ‘catfished’ its own athletes to teach them the dangers of social  media.

Michigan athletics director David Brandon  admitted this morning that the college hired an attractive woman to contact  players over the internet to test how they’d respond to her  advances.

He said several athletes’ replies were  ‘wholly inappropriate’ but refused to name and shame the players in  question.

News of Michigan’s secret social media lesson comes after the Manti Te’o saga, where the Notre Dame linebacker  was duped  into having a fake online relationship with a woman who never  existed.


Test: Michigan athletics director David Brandon,  pictured, revealed the college hired an attractive woman to contact players  online

Eleven Warriors reporter Kyle Rowland  tweeted Brandon’s cunning tactic this morning.

‘Brandon said the athletic department  catfished several athletes to teach them the dangers of social networking. Very  interesting,’ Rowland wrote.

He then tweeted that Brandon confessed the  ploy during a meeting with players.

‘Brandon had meeting with players,  and the  girl walked in. Athletes were shocked, but it was valuable  lesson in dangers of  social media,’ Rowland tweeted.

Some Ohio State University fans have been  slamming the exercise.


Footballers: The college said it hired the medial  consulting company to test athletes in its football team, pictured, and  basketball teams


But Rowland defended the move: ‘There was no  public shaming. I see many OSU fans bashing Michigan and  Brandon, but I think  it’s smart to educate players,’ he wrote, adding in a follow up tweet: ‘I’d say  the Manti Te’o saga illustrates that point  big time.’

UM associate athletic director David Ablauf  revealed to  that the department hired a media consulting  company to instruct players on the perils of social networking.


Ablauf said a female staffer ‘friended’  athletes on Facebook and followed them on Twitter.

She also searching through their profiles for  embarrassing pictures or information.

But he said the woman wasn’t ‘catfishing’ as  such, because she only had  limited or in some cases no real interaction with  the athletes.

Catfishing generally refers to when  someone  lures another person into an online relationship by posting  false information  and generally another person’s pictures on social  media sites to create the  illusion they’re someone else.



Te’o: News of Michigan’s secret social media lesson  comes after the Manti Te’o saga, where the Notre Dame linebacker was duped into  having a fake online relationship with a woman who never existed.

Ablauf told the news website: ‘She  would go through their accounts and find stuff that was either in inappropriate  for the public or could be misconstrued.’

‘As part of their presentation, they  introduce her. A lot of our student athletes couldn’t believe it because they  knew her,’ he said.

‘We would explain to them how what they put  out there could do damage to them personally and the Michigan  brand.’

UM initially did the exercise in 2011 with  the football team and both basketball teams but did it again with all 900  athletes in the fall.

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