Duke University is known for having high academic standards. According to the football team’s cornerback coach Derek Jones, the football team has high standards as well, and two of the areas they focus on are bringing on players with strong character and keeping distractions to a minimum.
Speaking of character, Jones said that Twitter is the number one source of player character evaluation, and that each time he tells a new recruit critically about something he saw on that player’s Twitter feed, the player is surprised that the coach knew how to look. The coaches know, and players need to be aware.
More comments from coach Jones:
- Prospects should treat their social media pages like a job resume because [the coaches] do
- I’ve seen [social media] cost numerous young men opportunities at our place as well as other institutions
- I’m often asked. ‘How can we judge a kid on one mistake?’ Our jobs depend on the guys we sign. We can’t afford risk
- We have people to check it all the time. It’s the first thing I do before I follow a young man
- Alcohol, drug related or guns [are] definite red flags. I’ve dropped kids for all 3. For a prospect, in my opinion, it’s not good to have any gun on there
- It also sends a bad message when kids are posting after midnight on school nights or during the season. They need to be aware
- If you have a prospect or aspiring college player, their parents need to be made aware of the seriousness of this issue
- It’s also important that they don’t repost or retweet inappropriate material. It raises questions about who they really are
- Prospects must understand they are not like their peers. They are being observed at all times. They can’t do what everyone does
If you’re the parent of a high school athlete, it might sound like a good idea to make sure that his accounts are private, or to delete them altogether. Coach Jones has an answer for that as well: “If it’s private they limit their communication with us.”
With the NCAA recently having expanded how and how much coaches can contact high school players with electronic media, cutting off access is not a good idea.
If your teen has hopes of playing at he college level, and perhaps get a scholarship, social media accounts (especially Twitter) need to be public and professional. It’s that simple.
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