"I think that's a problem that every parent has to deal with in today's society. Certainly every coach of any sport has to deal with it because it's interesting," Brooks said. "I asked my team once, 'What do you think? You're just sending this stuff to your friend, five or six buddies, somebody like that? Anybody can go on there.'"
Brooks warns his players that employers now look on personal Web sites for background information as well.
"What we've told them, and it's basically filtered down from the athletic director to every sport, that you have to be responsible for what's on your personal space on the computer pages. If it doesn't reflect kindly on our university, there will be consequences because of that," Brooks said.
Players didn't understand the consequences
Kentucky junior linebacker Wesley Woodyard says players didn't fully understand the consequences of posting personal information on the Internet before Brooks and athletics director Mitch Barnhart talked to them.
"We respect what Mitch Barnhart tells us," Woodyard said. "If we put something bad on the Internet, he wanted us to clear it up. If you give a college student freedom, he will take advantage of it. We sometimes don't think things look that bad on the Internet, but we also don't realize some things are disrespectful to our elders and we cleaned up things on the Internet."
Brooks, and other SEC coaches, says there is no doubt that Internet message boards can be a distraction for players.
"I hope some players are smart enough not to go in there and read them because all you're going to get is aggravated for the most part," Brooks said. "Really the most disappointing thing to me about message boards, and (radio) call-in shows, is that anybody can come in and write or say whatever they want, and there's really no ramifications whether they're right or wrong.
"It is a problem. You know what, it isn't going to go away. It's always going to be a problem. It may become a bigger problem."
The Kentucky coach also thinks message boards impact media coverage because they have become so popular with fans.
"Chat rooms and message boards drive the media. If you guys are going to do your job, you've got to know a little bit what some people are saying in those things," Brooks said. "You occasionally may go in and see what the tenor or what the tone is, who do they want to get rid of, what makes them unhappy. Then you come and ask a player or coach about it sometimes. That's just not right."
Coach doesn't read message boards
Richt says he learned not to read message boards when he was an assistant coach at Florida State and he hasn't changed that feeling since becoming head coach at Georgia.
"You may feel good after reading them, but usually you get your feelings hurt. There's a lot of things that can go across the air waves that can be damaging, too," he said. "Sometimes things are being said that just flat out aren't true. But I think what happens now, all these kids are learning that they're getting interviewed and then they'll read something that they thought they said one thing and all of a sudden it's something else. They're learning not to take everything as gospel."
Alabama coach Mike Shula knows some of his players read message boards no matter what he tells them.
"You can't control what people are going to say about you. I don't worry about it. But sometimes players do no matter what you tell them," Shula said. "That's when it can be a problem."
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer suffered through a 5-6 season last year, something that made him a daily subject on message boards for Tennessee fans.
Part of life