Life is about to get a lot more hectic for top high school athletes who are looking for a great scholarship opportunity and a chance to play at a top college. Colleges now have much more leeway in reaching out via text message or social media in some sports, most notably football. Twitter will play a large role.
In 2007, the NCAA banned football coaches from electronically contacting recruits. The focus of the ban at that time was text messages but it extended to social media messaging.
Under a rule change enacted this week, schools still cannot contact recruits before Sept. 1st of their junior year, but after that can contact targeted athletes electronically, as often as they want.
Not all coaches are in favor of the change. Urban Mayer, football coach at Ohio State (who incidentally has no problem recruiting top talent), had the following words to share, implying that the NCAA is making the change because existing rules are too hard to enforce:
“The texting thing is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Do you really want text messages from 100 universities on your phone when you come out of school? The ones I know don’t. ‘What? I don’t want to hear from these schools.’ Some intern is going to be punching text messages on your phone, and maybe you can block numbers and all that, but that’s just too hard, right? Maybe it’s easier for the enforcement because people are doing it, but it just doesn’t make sense.”
247Sports national scouting director Barton Simmons was quoted in USA Today saying that the change makes social media a much more important recruiting tool:
“In a lot of ways Twitter is better than texting because if you don’t have a kid’s phone number, you have to find it somewhere. With Twitter, you can find him, follow him and he follows you back and you’re on the way.”
As indicated above, when it comes to Twitter, some observers note that recruits will have to follow coaches back in order to be able to receive direct messages (DMs) from them. That’s not entirely true, as Twitter users can set their accounts to enable DMs from anyone. A quick look at the 247Sports top football recruits for the class of 2017, at least one player in the top 10 has a Twitter account that is open to receiving DMs from anyone.
A couple of thoughts for parents of high school football players:
Your teen might need more help managing his time. School and other activities are an important part of life, and you don’t want him on his phone 24/7 fielding incoming messages from coaches.
His social media profiles are likely to get more scrutiny. Some schools are already doing a good job of vetting recruits by checking out their digital footprints; others are not. If schools are eager to find your kid via social media, they will likely spend more time looking at what he posts online.
If you need help ensuring that your child’s social media profiles are not a deterrent to being recruited, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). You can cancel at any time. Sign up today!
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