One athletic director's effort to promote face mask usage during the coronavirus epidemic has spread clear across the country.
As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, more than 6.2 million Twitter handles had engaged with the hashtag #FaceMasks4FallSports in the week following its introduction by UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois, according to Rite Tag, a website that tracks and logs hashtag data. Notable accounts to promote the hashtag include the Las Vegas Raiders (1.6 million followers), North Carolina’s men’s basketball program (963,000 followers), Texas Christian’s football program (180,000 followers) and Virginia Tech’s football program (180,000 followers).
“I’m appreciative and humbled,” Reed-Francois told the Review-Journal. “I can’t say I forecasted this where Roy Williams or other coaches have tweeted this out, but I’m very grateful.”
Reed-Francois said the hashtag was inspired by her son, Jackson, who asked her last weekend if the Rebels will be playing football this fall. She then donned a mask on June 27, tweeting a selfie in front of Allegiant Stadium while introducing the hashtag.
As of this past Saturday morning, more than 37,000 Twitter handles were seeing the hashtag every hour, according to Rite Tag. Tweets featuring the hashtag were garnering 30 retweets per hour.
Reed-Francois asked UNLV athletics personnel to help share the message with friends and former colleagues at other universities.
“Many have much broader platforms, and they amplified the message,” Reed-Francois said. “Quite simply, we’re competitors on the field or on the court or in the water, but we’re all educators who want to provide for our student-athletes.”