A recent New York Times article highlighted the prevalence of social media use when it comes to the athletic recruitment process for college coaches and high school athletes. With the rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter – and the subsequent easier access that coaches can have to student athletes – the NCAA has had to implement new rules over the past few years to deal directly with how the college recruiting process is relying on social media.
The primary reason that coaches are using social media to get in touch with student athletes is that it’s simply easier than using the phone. Teens use networks like Facebook and Twitter to make themselves available as much, if not more, than their availability via the telephone and coaches found that they needed to adapt to this new form of interaction. Evan Daniels, a national basketball recruiting analyst for scout.com, said of coaches and recruiters that, “If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you may be a step behind.” And coaches and recruiters themselves say that social networking accounts for about 50% of their recruiting interaction.
Because of this new form of communication between coaches and potential players, the NCAA has had to update its recruiting rules, stating that it “has developed rules regarding social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, while fully recognizing the social media world is constantly changing and developing.” The rules and restrictions specifically for Facebook use are that coaches can contact a student via a private Facebook message but can’t publicly write on their wall or engage in the Facebook Chat feature. Similarly on Twitter, coaches can contact a student athlete via direct message but cannot publicly tweet at them.
Coaches like West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen say of Facebook that “it’s probably the only way to communicate with recruits.” Because of this, it’s important for student athletes to make sure they have respectable and appropriate profiles and online reputations that they consistently maintain. The same goes for any teenager about to apply for jobs or colleges. Coaches and admissions offices have more insight into students’ personal lives now more than ever, and making sure to keep up a positive reputation and image – both on- and offline – is seriously important when it comes to a teen’s future.
Has your teen had experience in maintaining a positive online reputation when it comes to applying for jobs and schools?