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Sports

Watch your Step Towards Recruitment

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The publication of bad decisions deeply affects college bound athletes. When you cannot see the people watching you do something, it seems as if nobody is – which can lead to bad decisions. While colleges expect clean social media accounts on every platform, structured behavior has to be learned somewhere. “Our program does not implement strict rules regarding social media, but we remind our student-athletes that everything we do and say represents not only ourselves, but also our program, our school, and our community,” Maine West varsity girls basketball coach Deanna Kuzmanic said. Setting personal expectations of an athlete’s self within high school programs sets every athlete up for success if they choose to follow the seemingly invisible guidelines. However unclear guidelines can lead to an athlete making crucial mistakes.

Social media can be unpredictable. “Anything on social media can be scrutinized,” deputy athletic director at Northwestern University Janna Blais said. A college’s view of a post, regardless if you personally consider it appropriate, ultimately can determine a high school student’s path to becoming a collegiate athlete. 

“When there is a list of athletes who all have very similar abilities, but there are one or two that put questionable things out there on social media, it is very easy to eliminate them from that list and keep athletes that you know you can trust to represent their program in the right ways,” Maine West football coach Michael O’Brill said. Those trying to play in college are typically at the same level, making small details magnified. Digital footprints last a lifetime, allowing college coaches easy access to uncover inappropriate behavior from any age. The unfortunate reality is even one social media post can lead to a senior athlete losing their spot up to someone else. 

But social media can also provide athletes with advantages when it comes to recruitment. Using social media to present themselves can heighten interest from potential scouts and help scouts find athletes in the first place. “Twitter definitely gives you extra exposure since you can be seen by any coach on there,” senior baseball player Charlie Parcell said. 

Spaces where athletes can promote themselves like HUDL or Twitter connecting traditional recruitment with modernized technology. “Hudl can also be used to help student-athletes create highlight tapes and share them with college coaches who otherwise might not have a chance to see them play.” Kuzmanic said. Athletes’ personal accounts allow college coaches to communicate with student athletes and their coaches without taking a trip to see the athlete play in person. 

Being able to see updated film of athletes on social media is vital to recruitment and marketing,” O’Brill said. Understanding that recruitment does not come without committing to the work of marketing oneself is vital for student athletes looking to take the next step in their athletic career. It also requires the effort of their coaches, too.  10% of all self-promoted prospects receive scholarship offers, while 20% of athletes promoted by their high school coaches get offers, uncovered by the National Scouting Report. Being able to positively mold one’s social media in a way that promotes oneself provides an upper hand in such a competitive world. 

Navigating the rights and wrongs of social media presence of any kind is a useful skill inside and outside of school sports. As social media platforms expand, student athletes need to continue to combat new challenges regarding conduct in each respective platform. It all comes down to student athletes taking personal accountability or their potential athletic careers and life moving forward.

Taryn Mcgannon

November 30, 2022

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