“Came across an awful Twitter account today. Shame the kid was a really good player…On to the next one…get a clue!” tweets Justin Stepp, Arkansas’ wide receiver’s coach.
All too often, college coaches are pulling recruits from their radar as a result of their careless use of social media. The impact that social media has on today’s recruiting world is only increasing. Coaches are using social media, Twitter especially, to stay in contact with their recruits. While this tool offers an array of benefits for both athletes and coaches, there are athletes who can eliminate their chances of being recruited simply by not thinking twice.
Coaches monitor their student-athlete’s social media, and this begins in the recruiting phase. Once you are a part of an athletic program, you represent not only yourself as a student-athlete, but you are also representing the university. The last thing that a coach wants is a student-athlete that could shed a bad light on the program and fail to abide by their standards.
Here’s a few simple social media DOs and DON’Ts to consider throughout your college recruitment process.
DO Be consistent with your personal brand
Show coaches who you really are and stick with it. Always keep things positive.
DO Have your first and last name on your handle so you can be easily found
If a coach is looking for you on social media, they are never going to find you if you have your name set to something crazy that your friends call you or if you only give your first name.
DO Respond promptly to coaches when they message you
Consistent contact with coaches throughout the recruiting process is KEY! If they are making time in their busy schedule to reach out to you, do the same and in a timely manner.
DO Highlight your achievements
This is your chance to boast about your best qualities. Post about volunteer work, awards you have been receiving, or anything that you think could make you appear to be an incredible student-athlete.
DO Keep social media on public
Coaches are going to study your social media pages to see if you are a good representation of their program. If you’re on private, they are not able to obtain this additional information and may be left wondering what you could be hiding.
DO NOT Use vulgar language/speak inappropriately
This one seems like common sense, right? Any vulgar language and inappropriate talk are certain to eliminate you from any consideration.
DO NOT Treat social media as your diary
Social media is NOT a place to put everything you do and think. There is a lot of confidentiality that comes with being a student-athlete and the last thing coaches want is someone who spills their heart and soul online. A coach needs to be able to trust you.
DO NOT Bash any universities
If you are willing to talk poorly about other schools and universities, what makes a coach think you wouldn’t do the same to them?
DO NOT Post photos of you doing something illegal
NO PARTY PHOTOS! Absolutely NO red solo cups, alcoholic beverages or anything else in this category. You are more than likely underage as well… which is illegal. There is probably nothing that will ruin your chances more. A coach would rather offer a less talented athlete than deal with a “high risk” for the next four years.
With NCAA’s strict regulations on how, where, and when a coach can have contact with a recruit, Twitter is becoming the go-to method of contact for many coaches. Direct messages follow NCAA guidelines of contact via email while providing them with consistent and updated information on the student-athlete. Use this tool to maximize your chances of receiving scholarship offers rather than it costing you thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarship money. Whether you like it or not, coaches and the university are counting on YOU as the student-athlete to make their program have a phenomenal reputation. YOU are now representing a brand. Think before you post!
“And I’ll tell you this right now – if there’s anything negative about women, if there’s anything racial or about sexuality, if there’s anything about guns or anything like that, we’re just not going to recruit you, period. Piece of advice for you – what you put on social media, that’s your resume to the world. That’s what you’re trying to tell the world you’re all about. That’s how you’re advertising yourself. Be smart with that stuff.” – Scott Frost, Nebraska head football coach