Social Media Could Be Overwhelming Student Athletes

We were reviewing the social media accounts of a student athlete this week – a college Division 1 football player who will likely be drafted into the pros next year. We aren’t going to divulge who it NCAA logois, but let us tell you what we found.

  • One Twitter account (public), open since April 2011, 24,700 tweets
  • Two Instagram accounts (public), 330 pictures and videos posted
  • 3 Facebook accounts (all private), two of which are probably the victim of forgotten passwords
  • One Vine account (public)
  • One YouTube account (public)

We found lots of profanity, and a number of crude sexual references, but overall this looks like a good kid to us, if somewhat immature. Our question is, how does he have the time to balance his sports training, personal life and go to school?

His Twitter account alone is a huge undertaking. 24,700 tweets in 61 months add up to him tweeting on average 13 times per day. Many of the tweets were replies to others, so he is clearly spending time reading what others are posting. Hundreds of his tweets include images, so he is spending time curating those pictures.

If you’re the parent of a high school athlete, this is what might be in store for your kid. In addition, in terms of social media overload, things are about to get worse. The NCAA changed its rules earlier this month for football and a handful of other sports, and starting in August coaches will be able to contact recruits electronically as often as they want, via text messaging or social media (some exceptions apply).

We assume that the player above uses his social media accounts to build his profile as a star athlete, connect with fans and friends, read about what is going on with his sport and team and generally to have fun. Now athletes will be open to being contacted by coaches and scouts 24×7.

The 4 and 5-star recruits are going to be contacted no matter what, but what about the above average high school athlete. Sure, a scholarship would be nice, but is it worth making social media a full time job? We don’t think so. Only 1 in 41 high school football players go on to play Division 1 football, and not all of them get scholarship. The odds of a high school player making it to the NFL are 1 out of 600.

Set some limits for your teen if and when the messages from coaches start rolling in. Make sure that the schoolwork gets done. Help him find balance in his life so he doesn’t get overwhelmed.


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