Looking for an athletic scholarship? You might want to consider what your digital footprint looks like. Is it possible that you ever had an online lapse in judgment that you can’t recall? Ever have an e-fight that escalated into a heated exchange? Can’t remember whether you even had a MySpace account back in the day? Social media and internet use can have a negative impact on your athletic scholarship prospects.
Things posted by or about you tend to have a very long shelf life online, even if everyone involved has long since forgotten. Someone with power to make decisions about your future may not view such things as being harmless should they find them online.
You may not be aware that some college athletic programs require current student athletes to friend the coach or another member of the administration as a requirement for playing. While the laws in this area are evolving, and the idea of only checking Facebook in an age where Instagram, Twitter and other platforms are rapidly gaining momentum is a little antiquated, it stands to reason that at the same time that schools are getting more adept at keeping tabs on current athletes, they are also going to greater lengths to background check new recruits. That’s right, it is a fact that college recruiters are checking online backgrounds before offering scholarships.
What are they looking for? Evidence that you’re a bad risk to them. By offering you a scholarship (that they could as easily offer to someone else), they are making an investment in you. Are you worth it? In our opinion, they are not only looking for evidence of illegal behavior, but also evidence of bad judgment. What you have done in the past may not be a great indicator of what’s you’ll do in the future but people do use that kind of info to make decisions. Even the frequency of how often you post is taken into consideration. According to a Big Ten recruiting coordinator:
“It’s really honestly as disturbing seeing how often a kid will post/tweet out messages than [sic] the actual content. Some kids, I swear never put their phones down. I know you have different programs where you can load up posts, but we know the difference right away.
“Does this kid ever study?”
What to do?
If you’re a parent reading this, the possibility of a full ride scholarship for your teen is not only very satisfying payoff for the years of hard work that child has spent training, but also a financial windfall for you and/or your child. It is worth it to do a preemptive background check.
If you are a student athlete reading this, the last thing you probably want your parents doing is asking a company to look into your internet background. If that is the case, you might want to reconsider. Losing a scholarship opportunity because of prior bad decisions is not the outcome you want.
At ThirdParent, we have a solution. We offer programs addressing student athlete internet usage, and can help you put your best foot forward in the recruiting process. Our core product is a full parent-directed audit of a teen’s public-domain internet activity, with a view to taking corrective action. In addition, we can accommodate high school varsity coaches who wish to conduct a seminar with athletes discussing internet best practices for student athletes.
Contact us today to hear how we can help maximize your chances at the scholarship you are seeking.