High School Athletes and Social Media

monty-footballWe’ve written before about how athletics programs in colleges are devoting more energy and resources to checking our prospects’ backgrounds via social media before offering those lucrative scholarships.

It makes sense. The colleges have to protect their brand – they don’t want to bring on players who are likely to get into trouble off the field and harm the school’s reputation, and they need to protect their investment and program – the scholarship they are giving to one athlete who lands in hot water and doesn’t perform could have as easily been given to another.

David Brandon, the Athletic Director from University of Michigan (UM) was speaking at Bloomfield Hills High School recently and talked about how UM stresses good player behavior, both on the field and off. When speaking to the high school students, he reminded the young listeners that their online reputation would affect not only college opportunities but future job prospects as well.

“If I access the things that you’re posting, I’m going to learn about your attitude, and if I don’t like what I see, I’m going to hire somebody else,”

He went on to say that after Manti Te’o, a high profile football player from rival Notre Dame, got caught up in a bizarre Catfishing incident, the UM program went to great lengths to make sure a similar fate did not befall their players.

The athletic department intentionally had a mysterious young woman “friend” several athletes on social media sites, and after seeing several inappropriate exchanges, educated them about the potential harm to the program and their future careers.

Well done by University of Michigan. Sometimes it takes a real first person example to make one understand the pitfalls of risky behavior.


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