Times have changed for student athletes, particularly when it comes to social media use, and the stakes have never been higher. While college tuitions keep rising, the value of any scholarship is huge to most families. If you’re a consultant who specializes in helping student athletes land NCAA scholarships, we have something that you need to look at.
As I’m sure you know, a growing focus of college athletic departments is using the internet as a way to vet scholarship candidates, and they have been adding staff and resources of late to make sure that they are admitting solid citizens to their programs. If they don’t, they risk embarrassing the school, having their program penalized or losing players after they’re been granted scholarships and a spot on the team.
Do they really check? Don’t just take our word for it. We recently spoke with Rob Shutte, Men’s Golf Coach at Rutgers, who does a Google search and checks Facebook and Twitter before he even starts recruiting a player. His take:
“If I see anything questionable – it doesn’t even have to be really negative, just questionable – I don’t proceed with that athlete. Basically, I’m looking for reasons not to recruit a player.”
From Ryan Gunderson, Oregon State’s assistant director of player personnel:
“The first thing we do is see the film and see the talent, and the second thing we do is get on Facebook or Twitter and follow them, friend request them. You can tell a lot about a kid right away.”
According to Dirk Knudsen, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com:
“I have seen pictures on some of our top athletes’ pages with bongs and alcohol, and n-bombs and f-bombs. What you’re telling the school is, ‘I don’t really care too much about all of this.’”
At a high school level, the coaches and schools are way behind the curve in helping out with these issues. According to a survey of high school coaches by CoachFore.org, while 63% of coaches have seen their own players talking smack online, only 31% report that their school offers any sort of training or guidance for players regarding social media use.
One challenge is that not everything on the internet is as it seems. A student could post something carelessly or in jest that looks to a recruiter like a threat or a sign of a character flaw. Cyberbullying, racism, homophobic comments and crude language could all lead recruiters to form a negative first impression. Even if it is a joke, the recruit could miss out on a scholarship offer.
After signing up for the ThirdParent initial audit, we compile a comprehensive dashboard comprised of all public internet and social media profiles and activity for the player, complete with recommendations of how to clean up any content that may not look perfect to a college recruiter. Our ongoing monitoring will produce alerts flagging inappropriate or questionable content soon after it is posted.
By adding ThirdParent as a partner, recruiters can set themselves apart from the competition, and ensure that the results that they might be getting for their athletes aren’t sabotaged by bad online behavior.
Want to hear more? Contact us to set up an introductory call today.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.