USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
Picture this: you’re a big-time high school athlete getting recruited by some of the best programs in the country. You’re getting calls and text messages from coaches, every day. The attention you’re getting is non-stop and, in your mind, this is exactly how it is supposed to be. That’s nice. Life is easy, and at this point, you feel like you can pretty much walk on water!
Being the stud you are, you don’t take much time to consider consequences to all your actions, especially how you’re living on social media. I mean come on, you’re good no matter what. So, without thinking one night, you decide to tweet out some reckless, nasty comments to a kid on the team you’re playing next weekend. You knew it was wrong, but oh well. You thought it was funny and some of your teammates even liked and retweeted. No big deal, right? Well, it actually is a big deal. A very big deal. Because this time, you messed with the wrong person. And, in about as much time as it took for you to brainlessly post that tweet, you find yourself suspended from school and dismissed from the team. In an instant, you went from the big man on campus, to the biggest jerk on campus. Oh, and remember those top colleges that were after you day and night? Yeah, no more calls and no more texts. It’s as if they lost your number or something. Scary thought, huh?
Well, when it comes to college recruiting, social media can be a flat-out nightmare, if you’re not living the right way. With the ability to screen-shot, send or share, nothing you post is ever private anymore. Nothing!
Look at your Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter accounts, quickly. Do you personally know every one of your friends and followers? Better yet, can every one of your friends or followers be trusted? If you can answer yes to both of those questions, you’re lying! Because the reality of it is, you have no idea who most of those guys are. And you know what, I can promise you have no clue as to who all their friends and followers are.
My point? There’s no telling who will see what you’re posting, liking or retweeting. That includes college coaches.
As a student-athlete looking to play at the next level, you need to be very careful on your social media. Without a doubt, the colleges recruiting you are watching everything you do. They do this because they want to make sure they’re getting a player who will not only get it done on the field and in the classroom, but who will also represent their university the right way. If you have careless tendencies on social media, get ready for college coaches to lose interest in you quickly. And, I mean quickly.
Because, in their eyes, you’re a liability. They see you as someone that’s distracted. Someone that isn’t worth the risk. Someone they don’t need in their program.
So, how do you avoid becoming the next lesson everyone else is going to learn from? It’s simple. Before you do anything on social media, ask yourself, “Are 1000 likes more valuable than a scholarship?”
Seriously, is any activity on any of your social media accounts worth losing a scholarship over? If your answer is no, and it should be, don’t do it! If it includes profanity, sexual comments, racial comments and slurs or anything that would even be remotely close to that spectrum, don’t do it!
Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be bully. Because, when evaluating high school athletes, college coaches aren’t just evaluating talent. They’re also evaluating a person. Make it easy for them and be someone they would be proud to recruit.