NCAA launches initiative to study online abuse in college sports
This unique initiative is intended to further promote the mental health and well-being of the college sports community through data collection and analytics.The service will go live this month with a particular focus on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok. The Threat Matrix project will offer various capabilities and deliverables as part of a pilot during the 2023-24 NCAA Championships, including:
- Monitoring, detection and analysis of the levels of abuse and threat in over 35 languages as well as images and emojis.
- Analysis of abuse related to sports betting.
- Reporting procedures for notifying key stakeholders, including involved individuals and teams, local organizers, law enforcement and social media platforms.
- Direct coordination with social media platforms to report abuses and encourage removal of content and other appropriate sanctioning of account holders.
- Providing data to support the Association’s understanding of the scale and nature of online abuse and threats in college sports, as well as informing future educational and policy developments.
The data from the initial set of championships covered by the service will be used as a benchmark for monitoring efforts at future NCAA championships.
Online abuse and threats are too common within sports. Signify has vast experience working across a range of sports and at different levels, from club level, player unions, federations, to major international tournaments.
Furthermore, with the growth of sports betting in the US in recent years there have been many instances of college sports representatives receiving targeted abuse and threats. A recent NCAA survey of campus administrators found 10% of DI respondents said they were aware of student-athletes being harassed online or in person by someone with gambling interests.
This project will represent the largest study in North America on this growing phenomenon, and will assist the Association in detecting, analyzing, and investigating such abuse. The data collected will provide greater understanding of the issues and help the Association refine its policies in an effort to deter abuse and threats in college sports.