Recruits and Social Media: You’re In The Spotlight Now

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by Scott Cochran, recruit757

Copyright Andy Hilton/recruit757  - www.recruit757.comFlashback to January 2012: One of the most sought after high school defensive backs in the nation found himself expelled from the New Jersey prep institute that he attended after school officials became aware of a series of explicit and inappropriate comments the star athlete was posting on Twitter.

But expulsion was just one part of the story. Big name college football programs, such as the University of Michigan – the athlete’s dream school, withdrew the scholarship that they had previously offered him. To add insult to injury, the athlete was supposed to take his visit within the next week to Michigan, where he likely would have given the Wolverines his verbal commitment to play football for the university.

The athlete mentioned above learned the hard way what every high school athlete seeking a scholarship to play at the next level should know – be careful what you post on social media, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Think your profiles are private? Think again.

Think coaches aren’t keeping tabs on you? Wrong.

Think a coach won’t cut ties with a recruit over social media posts that don’t reflect the types of values they want their athletes to portray? Just like in the case above, you’re wrong.   Don’t take chances with your future.   Coaches don’t want to take on a recruit that could be destined to create problems on campus or in the locker room.   There are far too many talented athletes out there for a college coach to take that risk.

So just what types of things should an athlete post to his or her social media channels? Here are some general tips and suggestions to follow:

  • Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want a parent or teacher to see.
  • Think of social media posts of being “on the record.” So in other words, what is posted on social media is like saying anything to a beat writer, as it can be reported in the news.
  • Don’t assume that just because your profiles are private that they can’t be seen by everyone. You’d be surprised how far the reach of your social media network goes.
  • Remember, while it’s not breaking the law to post explicit things to social media, it does reflect your personal opinions. And your personal opinions do reflect other parties, like your current school and your potential future school.
  • Don’t feed the trolls: If you’re a quality athlete, it’s only natural for several schools to want you to play for them. And when you make a commitment, it’s only natural for the trolls from the schools you didn’t pick to come out and Tweet or Facebook mean things. Don’t feed them, just block them or ignore them – no matter how hard that may be. Feeding them can led to a heated war of words, which may work against you in the long run.

It’s worth noting that the athlete we used as an example at the start of this article eventually accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Colorado. But this was after his supposed dream school had stopped recruiting him over his social media behavior. The athlete’s mishap serves as a big warning to high school athletes seeking to move on to that next level everywhere – be careful what you post on your social media channels.

- Scott Cochran

Editor’s note: Towson University assistant coach Jared Ambrose posted on Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday night: “(I) had to stop recruiting another player because of the poor references and comments on his Social Media pages.”