KU rower said players suspended for having a "Finsta," fake Instagram account

Posted at 7:52 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 07:17:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A student on the University of Kansas rowing team told 41 Action News her and several teammates were suspended for using a fake Instagram account, or a "Finsta." 

The student, who wants to be anonymous, said the team rules state players are required to disclose all social media accounts to coaches, and their Finstas violated the Kansas Athletics Jayhawk Honor Code. 

The student says those who had the Finstas had around 25 followers per account, kept private to close friends.  She says it was a way to vent about problems in life and problems on the team they didn't want their coaches to see. 

The student says it's been five weeks now, and the investigation is still pending, according to the athletics department and their coaches. The student says those who are suspended still don't know what the punishment is or if they'll be able to stay on the team. 

The punishment includes not being able practice, race, compete, go to team meetings, or go to team celebrations.  The Sunflower Showdown, Big 12 Tournament, and the NCAA Tournament are right around the corner. 

The student estimates around 20 to 30 women out of 50 on the team have Finstas, but but not all of them were suspended.

She thinks certain teammates were not suspended because they are higher-performing racers. 

She says team members who 'liked' the Finsta posts were required by the coaches to take two bystander intervention training sessions. 

The University Daily Kansan, the KU campus newspaper, recently reported the same story. 

On April 24, Associate Athletics Director Jim Marchiony said the paper's report is not accurate, and that he could not comment on ongoing university student investigations but would not provide further context.

On April 26, 41 Action News again asked Marchiony for comment, only to receive the same answer.

Despite what may play out with the athletics department, "Finsta" is a word most students on campus know. 

"A fake Instagram, where people have one, and then their Finsta to post things they don't want their normal followers to see," sophomore Reagan Wood said. 

"Where people post whatever private and kind of post stories of you drinking, partying stuff like that," Junior Saige Killion said. "You normally close it off to a few of your friends." 

If a student doesn't have one, they usually know people who do. 

"It's fun, especially in college because then it's like you can act one way and then I'm doing something completely different," said sophomore Ian Newton.  

Finstas are usually set to private and aren't just for crazy party pics. 

They can be used as an outlet for your problems, to post silly selfies or even a way to talk trash about other people.

But the thing with the internet - is that posts stay forever. Experts say never underestimate the power of a screenshot. 

"Back in high school when it first started coming up, any person could snitch on anyone and anything you posted is fair game, so you could get snitched on and get in trouble like four hours after you posted it," Newton said.