Social media has changed the landscape for recruiting and retaining athletes. Whether it be coaches deciding to pull offers to a player due to something they said on Twitter, or the ability of fans to interact with recruits, a lot has changed with the evolution of technology.
Although recruits may not be paying attention to what they are tweeting, their future coaches are.
Jason Burton, the head football coach for Borah High School, explained he is always vigilant about keeping in touch with players on social media.
“Constantly, we will show examples of players losing scholarship and/or just stupid posts. I follow all of my players and will pull them aside if they make a stupid post or tell them to take it down,” Burton said.
“The biggest problem is players don’t think they can be held accountable for a social media post. Or they believe that no one is following them besides their peers,” Burton said.
Athletes are empowered through Twitter to create their own brand and should feel free to express their personality, but all that freedom comes with consequences.
In a photo shown by Van Malone, defensive coordinator for Southern Methodist, every tweet recruits post is analyzed and color coded for coaches to look at.
Tweets are categorized into different categories deeming the risk factor behind each tweet.
Recruits’ tweets have gone as far as being the sole reason they lose a scholarship to big name schools.
In a tweet, Herb Hand, a line coach at Auburn University, said he “dropped another prospect this AM due to his social media presence.”
Hand mentions that he is glad to meet athletes in person, before they are brought to him at Auburn.
“In a perspective that is often ignored, there is a lot of accountability on coaches to produce a good product on the field, while also helping young men mold into respected citizens.”
Derek Jones, the defensive back coach for Duke, tweeted that “Our jobs depend on the young men that we recruit. Your social media pages say a lot about your character, discipline and common sense.”
While it may seem unfair to judge a person’s character based off their social media presence, it does highlight the significance of recruits needing to be conscious of anything they post and the impact it may have. Coaches are also under the spotlight with their social media behavior.
Like the athletes, they also are empowered to create their own brand while still maintaining the brand of their university.
According to a rule established by the NCAA and started Aug. 1, coaches are allowed to start liking, republishing and tagging on social media platforms of recruits.
However, it is not acceptable for a coach to tweet directly at an athlete. This makes a new fold to recruiting, making it more of an exhausting process with the constant need to keep in contact. With the amount of schools that are recruiting players, coaches can never really rest.
Many recruits’ replies are chock full of different fans doing their best to convince the athlete to come to their school. Some fans create entire mock-ups of the recruit in the universities’ jerseys.
Some fans will tirelessly tweet recruits, making up for the time when team staff isn’t able to be on top of it.