Drugs, underage drinking, racial slurs, foul language, inappropriate taunting – there are countless ways aspiring high school athletes can get into hot water with parents, team mates or coaches. Now that we are in prime time of the social media era, those lapses in judgment are increasingly costing high school athletes lucrative scholarship opportunities and a shot a moving forward with a dream that they have worked so hard on.
A decade ago, before Twitter and Instagram, something posted on an internet message board might not have been seen by anyone consequential. Nowadays, high school athletes need to wise up to the fact that, even though college coaches and recruiters are limited in how much direct contact they can have with high schools students, they are using social media to get a better picture of the kids they are considering for scholarships.
From an article this week in The Oregonian:
“In general, social media is a disaster for athletes,” said Michael Abraham, coach for the Team Concept AAU girls basketball program. “In terms of the forum that it’s provided, it’s abused way more than it has helped. Kids get so much braver and make so many poor decisions because they don’t see the immediate accountability for their actions. There’s no positive to it.”
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.'”
I’m confident that student athletes do in fact care about getting scholarships and going to a great school. It’s time for them to wise up – the rules have changed.
Anything you post on the internet, or that others post about you, may be permanent and can come back to haunt you. Coaches and recruiters know they value of the scholarships they are giving out, and are adding staff and time to their social media vetting efforts.
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.”
What can they tell about you? If you really want that scholarship – and later in life a good job, you’re going to have to keep your online identity clean.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.