Over the last decade, social media has grown exponentially. From a very young age, we are introduced to different media platforms, which allows people to be “connected” all of the time. With this strong digital community presence, the entire public has access to view your profile, content, etc. Now this may seem like a great aspect and addition to the growing technology market, but for young athletes, it could really hurt the potential to take their game to the collegiate level.
In 2014, Coach Singleton from Oklahoma State revealed on highschool sports that he had to drop a recruit because of his activity and behavior on social media. This isn’t the only scenario where a recruit had been let go by a top collegiate program due to lack of character on twitter. The coaches are trying to get across to all the athletes that it isn’t just your friends that see what you post and follow you, more people than you know have access to your accounts. Social media has gone for a leisure activity for people to stay in touch, to a very influential piece to the college recruiting process. It not only makes it easier for coaches to see the person their potential player really is, but it shows the character and moral standing of the overall person, and coaches are looking for that well balanced, All-American type of person.
In New Hampshire, an article released that a basketball player had his player of the year award taken away from him because there was profanity on his twitter account. He had tweeted right after a game at another payer using words that are not permitted, and the result ended in him losing an entire years work for a very prominent award. In fact, he only had the post up for about 15 minutes, but once you post something on the Internet, it will always be there. Athletes have to know that things don’t disappear, and if you do not represent yourself in a class act way, it could end up hurting you in your high school, college and professional level careers. You always have to remember that the logo you wear and represent means more than just yourself. That number on your chest reveals a bigger message than the player itself. When you put that jersey on you are representing your school, your fans, your family, alumni and everyone that looks up to you and that has put you in the position you are in to have the most success.
In 2014, in Ohio, the mansfield journal revealed that a soccer player was suspended from the team due to a posting on twitter about marijuana. The player posted a picture of a hand and the drug and the school, which then turned into a big lawsuit, saw it. Now it was not said that he was promoting the drug, but there is a zero tolerance for any drugs in sports and the NCAA test for these drugs at the collegiate level. It goes to show you that you are under radar as an athlete more so than anyone else. Athletes have to know at all times that they are being watched by others and the smallest, minor, bad decision can cost you a lot. People look up to you as an athlete and if you want to give back to those people and everyone else that supports you such as your school and family, than you have to behave like it. Although being an athlete comes with a lot of responsibility, there is nothing else like being part of a team, and playing with your brothers and sisters to the very last whistle. It is a fraternity, a family bond that is so strong. Athletes have to think before they post on social media, what would my parents, friends, teachers, teammates think? Not only do you put your reputation on the line, but you put the one’s to the left and right of you at practice every day too.
This is a way to raise awareness to young athletes out there. It is not to scare you away from social media, because it is a great part of technology, which has grown to be a big part of a lot of people’s lives. Just know that people see what you [post, and don’t do anything that could jeopardize all the great things that you have going for you. The recruiting process starts early, so make sure you are representing yourself and others with the upmost respect.
Emerging Media Graduate Student