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May 29, 2017

Social Media and the College Recruiting Process

Save to my locker

Follow me!

Not to the court, not to the field…right here online. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. 

We hear this all the time. And usually, we keep our social media sites updated for friends, teammates, and family. But who else “sees” us? If you consider yourself a potential college athlete, you should know many people care about what you post. 

You may ask yourself, “Why would they care?” Consider this: being recruited by a college or university is like starting a new relationship. You’re excited and curious because they’re about to become a massive part of your life. As much as you want to have a fantastic school to call home, the institution also wants a great athlete to call its own. Back in the day, maybe this only meant jumping high and running fast, but in today’s high-tech society, it also means one must be socially presentable and respectable online.

In discussion with Notre Dame Volleyball’s assistant coach, Katie Wilson, emphasizes how important social media has become for their program. Wilson shares, “Once we are actively recruiting kids, we follow them on social media. We follow them on Twitter, we follow them on Snapchat, and we follow them on Instagram and Facebook.” When asked if social media could possibly affect the recruitment of a player, Wilson responded, “It has. We were ready to get on a plane to watch a kid, and we decided not to based on what we saw on social media.”

So, what does this mean? Your activity online is harmless, right? Not necessarily. Nearly everyone is accessible at the click of a button, even you. This means the pictures you posted at the state championship are just as easily seen as the pictures of you partying on New Year’s Eve. Not only this, whom you follow and what you like is available, too. Wilson confirms they monitor this to see what other schools their recruits are considering. The recruiting process gets more and more competitive every year, so coaches are always trying to find ways to narrow down the selection, including reviewing your social accounts. Are you someone they can trust to represent their school? 

It’s not all bad news, though; the use of your social media sites can help you if you use them responsibly. “We are looking to see if you’re hanging out with your friends and teammates. Did you get a huge win at a tournament? Then yes, we definitely like to see pictures of you celebrating,” Wilson adds. By showing you are both responsible and a team player, you can’t go wrong. 

When it comes to your social media, be smart. It’s a tool for your success! Know how you want to portray yourself and know who is watching. My fellow athletes, you’ve never sold yourself short before, so next time you log in, up your game.

LRT Sports received feedback from some incredible coaches on what they think about social media and what they look for.

Minnesota Moorhead – Head Softball Coach Amanda Reckamp

I don’t look a ton at social media, but my team does. When they know we have a recruit, they are searching to find out more about who you are. And if they find something not so good, they do tell me, and when you come to visit, they may have a preconceived opinion that may not be the real you. Promote yourself in the best light on social media. Personal branding can be the best thing or the worst thing for you when it comes to social media.”

University of Iowa – Head Baseball Coach Rick Heller

“It is big. We just had to call a recruit and tell them that if they didn’t stop doing stupid stuff on twitter we were not going to recruit them. It happens all the time. Kids put stuff up on social media that causes us to not recruit them or drop them. There are lots of educational pieces on line about what not to do. Most is common sense and helps us realize the type of person the kid is. So when they post dumb or controversial stuff we know they won’t fit in here.”  

University of Pittsburgh – Head Soccer Coach Randy Waldrum

Don’t put things on there that you will regret. If it would embarrass your parents, it probably shouldn’t be there. Language can be an issue, politically incorrect views about things are not good things to discuss, discussions about your teammates or coaches are a red flag, etc. BE VERY CAREFUL as those few seconds of typing could cost you dearly in scholarship opportunities.”

University of North Carolina – Head Women’s Soccer Coach Anson Dorrance

“They have to be careful. We had a major scholarship recipient that was doing some stuff on social media that we thought wasn’t going to represent our university very well, so basically informed her that her conduct, certainly seen through social media, was not the conduct of the sort of athlete that we wanted representing the University of North Carolina. Because of that, we advised her to find a different school to attend. So your social media profile is critical. So certainly make sure that you represent yourself in the right way on all of your social media platforms.”

Updated on 12/4/19

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