by Sam Carnahan, Varsity Monitor, LLC
Recently, Danielle O’Banion, the Kent State Women’s Basketball coach tweeted “The misuse of social media literally costs people money. Chose not to recruit a young lady based on her online persona.” This was not an isolated incident.
Coaches are no longer only interested in game film and stats, but also conduct detailed evaluations of prospects’ social media accounts to make assessments on the athletes’ character, judgment, and personal life. Athletes who are smart about using social media can boost their recruiting prospects and find additional offers. But athletes who are irresponsible on social media can scare away coaches and end up with no offers at all.
From football to track, basketball to field hockey, coaches are expected to know everything about the athlete before they bring them into the school and on the team. Until now, this was done by friending the athlete on Facebook or following them on Twitter. However, over the last year coaches across the country are using technology services, such as Varsity Monitor, to look at the social media use of the athletes over the last 4-6 years – as early as middle school. They are looking to get a full picture of the type of person they are when not under the microscope of an official visit or interview.
In most cases, coaches are looking for:
- Differences between their personal interactions vs. the online persona
- Excessive use of foul language, offensive comments, or sexual content
- Content relating to violence or weapons
- Drugs, Alcohol and illegal behavior
- Amateurism violations
In addition, they evaluate:
- Content that reinforces the offline persona
- Demonstration of good judgment
- Showcase of community service/ involvement
- Team leadership
- Work ethic
At the end of the day, the 4+ years of social media use will likely be scrutinized by coaches before an offer is extended. It is critical that both the athlete and parent understand what has been posted and uses diligence to maintain an honest, but clean profile during the recruiting process.
Varsity Monitor, whose nationwide list of clients include the NFL, University of Texas, Oklahoma & North Carolina offers social media history reports which enable them to easily identify and delete any questionable content, as well as ongoing social media monitoring and education during the recruiting process. Click here to learn more about Varsity Monitors’ solutions for Parents and Athletes.
New to the recruiting process? See what college programs you might quality for by creating your free NCSA Athletic Recruiting profile