Q: Can poor character displayed on social media really hurt an athlete’s chance of being recruited? Do coaches really care?
A: As a prospective college athlete understand that not only are you being evaluated by your skills, size, speed and grades, your character is also under the microscope. It’s not just about what you put out there in your words, it’s also very telling who you are connected to and your communications with them!
While you may be trying to impress your friends and classmates with your tweets and subtweets, understand you may be turning off the college coaches who are in position to offer you scholarships. If you are trying to play college sports, ask yourself: “Who is it more important to impress—college coaches or high school classmates?” It’s important to remember – even if it’s a song lyric, not many college coaches are young enough to know that and read it as your opinion or thought! Be smart!
With social media, it’s not just what you say, but who you are connected to… And let’s be clear, just because you didn’t write it, a RT still shows up in your timeline and is just as bad. Keep your tweets and updates free of bad language and never retweet vulgar tweets. Never tweet or RT about illegal activities such as drugs, underage drinking, bullying, fighting, stealing, etc.
Same goes for the pics you like and comment on – use good judgment. A lot of those comments and likes show up in timelines and give coaches a more complete picture of your character, attitude and your circle.
In life you are warned to surround yourself with good people. Online, the people you follow, interact with and comment on will show up. Choose those people you follow and interact with wisely!
In a society where players from Top 25 programs and many Division I teams make negative headlines on ESPN for their tweets and status updates (within hours or minutes after posts) – yes, many coaches eliminate prospects who show poor character, judgment and language in social media. These poor-taste posts won’t just have your name on it, they will have the university’s name attached to it too!
Along with work ethic habits, academic habits—coaches know that how you carry yourself in high school will likely carry over to the college level and only become magnified. If you are Top 25 talent, you will be under a MAJOR magnifying glass even before you commit to a school!
When deciding to offer a scholarship—coaches, as a staff, evaluating the risk versus reward with players. They ask, “Are there any players equally as talented who have no attitude/work ethic/character issues?” There are hundreds of thousands of high school athletes out there fighting for scholarship opportunities… coaches can look elsewhere at plenty of other players who won’t carry any risk.
Remember—what you say on social media can’t be deleted! Choose your words carefully!
Also, many college players have found themselves in hot water with the NCAA for tweeting or Instagraming information and pictures that has come back to bite them in terms of compliance issues! You may quickly find yourself suspended or kicked out of school, so be careful about what you put out there as both a recruit and college athlete!