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
Imagine… you’re a big-time recruit, talking to the some of the best college programs in the country. Life is good and you feel untouchable. And, being the invincible athlete you are, you rarely worry about consequences, especially when it comes to posting on social media. I mean come on, you get a pass no matter what you do. So, without thought one day, you decide to recklessly tweet out some rude, inappropriate comments to a classmate. Oh well, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, you went too far this time. You crossed the line and offended the wrong person. All of the sudden, you find yourself suspended from school and suspended from the team. In a matter of an instant, those top colleges you’ve been talking to don’t want to talk to you anymore. Scary thought, huh?
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Social media can be a frightening thing in the world of college recruiting. With the ability to screen-shot and share, nothing you post is ever really private, anymore. Take a 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, I would be totally shocked! Because the reality of it is, you probably don’t genuinely know the majority of those guys! Consequently, when you post things on social media, there’s no telling who will see it and that includes college coaches.
You need to be very careful with social media for many reasons. But, specifically to the recruiting process because the colleges interested in you are watching everything you post. They do this because they want to make sure they’re recruiting a player who will not only get it done on the field and in the classroom, but who will also represent their institution the right way. If you have a tendency of posting inappropriate things on social media, get ready for college coaches to lose interest in you really quickly. Why? Because they see you as a liability. They see you as someone that’s distracted with things that don’t matter.
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Think about how often we see professional athletes making public apologies for the things they post? Those “I’m sorry” moments aren’t fun for anyone. Not only does it make the athlete look bad, but it also makes the organization look bad. College coaches don’t want to waste time on any player that comes with baggage like that. Quite frankly, they don’t need to waste their time on them, either.
So, how do you avoid the negative consequences of social media? It’s simple, really. Use the rule of mom! Before posting something sketchy, or anything for that matter, ask yourself, “Would Mom approve of this post?” If you answer no, don’t post it! And if Mom would be cool with it, then go ahead and post it! I’m pretty sure your mom wouldn’t approve of posts that include profanity, sexual comments and racial comments or slurs. If that’s not clear enough for you to understand, let me say it this way; don’t be a jerk!
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When recruiting high school athletes, college coaches aren’t just recruiting talent. They’re also recruiting a person. They want to make sure they’re recruiting an individual who will represent them well on all fronts, including social media. So, think before you post, and make sure you would get Mom’s stamp of approval!