Do Coaches Monitor High School Athlete Social Media?

football-scholarshipWe’ve written before about the idea of whether high school athletes should be worried about their internet footprint when it comes time for college recruiting and the quest for the elusive athletic scholarship. (The answer is yes.)

Back in June, we wrote about a Division I golf coach we talked to who immediately stopped recruiting players if he found anything questionable online. You may have read in May about Jay Harris, A Downingtown East PA High School football star who lost a full ride to Michigan State over his YouTube rap videos, which included drug use and denigration of women.

For kids who think these are isolated examples, there is some great reporting this weekend as the Times Daily of Alabama shines some light on how schools are actually operating. Football players especially should take note.

According to Scott Basden, a Muscle Shoals AL high school football coach:

“We have a coach that monitors [social media]. He’ll check it every day or every two days. We assigned a coach to start doing that last year. If we see something, we’ll talk to the player about it or maybe use it as a teaching experience for the whole team. But at the end of the day, they are teenagers and they’re going to make mistakes. We just try to teach them, like everything else, to be responsible.”

From Jamey Dubose, formerly the coach of Prattville AL High School”

“I had kids with college offers, but then a (college) coach calls me up because he sees something on social media and asks ‘What’s this?’ Kids will go to parties and post pictures with alcohol and things like that, just negative stuff. And some of the language kids use on Twitter can be inappropriate. College coaches keep track of this stuff. If it’s a borderline situation, and if there are two prospects who are alike, if it’s neck-and-neck with a college looking at you, it’s going to come down to what kind of person you are, too.”

Dubose goes on to give an example of professional teams looking all the way back to high school. Speaking of the New Orleans Saints’ star Roman Harper, who played for Dubose at Prattville:

“The Saints sent us a questionnaire at Prattville wanting to know what Roman Harper was like in high school. Kids might not understand but professional organizations will go all the way back to high school to see what kind of person this player was. When you put stuff out there on social media, it can be Googled and sticks around on the Internet forever.”

The questionnaire sent in the case of Roman Harper has probably been replaced by pro teams’ staff doing background checks, which with out a doubt include an internet search.

Star high school players are big men on campus, and attract attention whether they want it or not. How they act and react is important, but it can be far more important online where anything posted can be permanent. High school athletes, and even college athletes need to avoid posting any damaging info that could tarnish their reputation, and be cognizant of what photos or content others are posting about them. Players, or parents of players, looking to find and clean up past mistakes or poor decisions can contact ThirdParent any time.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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