Imagine all that work being diminished in less than a second, with just ONE post on a social media site. A couple of key strokes on a phone and bam, all the hard work tainted by a stupid, random thought posted for the world to see. If you are a big-time prospect or recruit, you better believe that people are watching and reading.
You see the horror stories everyday about kids losing scholarships or their draft status plummeting from speaking without a filter. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost through social media in Houston alone.
Social Media is an incredible outlet, that up until a decade ago, none of us could have imagined the impact it would have on our daily existence. We are able to “check in” and let people know where we are every minute o the day. We can post photos to share with friends and family, reconnect with long-lost friends from high school or college, and we connect with others whom share our interests in far- away places. All of this happens at the click of a mouse or a flick of a phone.
With that, come many repercussions… the good, the bad and of course the ugly. The crazy and embarrassing photo posted by your mom, or the game-winning slide home can all be immediately communicated to our friends and families.
For the student-athlete this comes with grave responsibility. The news is filled with instances of athletes losing scholarships, being removed from rosters, or even being arrested based on Social Media.
Colleges and professional teams are starting to make their players sign social media contracts, forbidding them from using certain key words, names or phrases. This gives them the right to revoke their scholarship or void their contract instantly. I know firsthand of a professional organization that banned their players from any use of social media, with suspension and fines being the punishment. Some even get released on the spot. Career over!
High school coaches, college recruiters and sports agencies are “Catfishing” their perspective prospects these day. The term has become infamous after Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o was caught up in a social media hoax that became national news.
College and organizations are investing millions of dollars on players these days, so they will got to lengthy measures to monitor their prize recruits. Athletic departments have banks of college interns trying to be-friend athletes. When the hook is set and an athlete accepts their friend request, now that school can monitor that athlete’s site and anything that may be inappropriately posted. THIS HAPPENS.
If you are smart with what you post, social media can be a huge marketing tool for high school athletes. If that last scholarship comes down to you and someone else, and your Facebook or Twitter account is clean or even shows pictures of you volunteering and helping around the community, it’s a no-brainer for a college recruiter. I talk to college coaches and scouts every day and if you don’t believe they do this on a daily basis you’re fooling yourself.
Don’t get caught up in all the peer pressure of high school. It’s not worth it. I’m always told that it’s never about your friends; it’s about your business.
Good luck to all the players as we start the 2013 campaign. I really believe it is wide open this year. We can bring another state title to Houston once again.