“Don’t ever let a 140 character Tweet cost you $140,000”
-Jamy Bechler (Leadership expert and former college basketball coach)
Why is it that the things we love sometimes are so bad for us? For example: if we eat too much candy, we’ll get cavities, and if we shop too much, we’ll have no money. Sometimes, the negative effects of our actions are less obvious. For example: did you know that the content of your social media posts could hurt your chances of getting a college athletic scholarship?
Imagine that you’re a 16-year-old high school sophomore, and a top college basketball prospect. You’re putting in lots of hours in the gym, reviewing film, hitting the weight room, and maintaining your grades. Basketball is your life.
Everything you’ve worked for is to become the athlete you are today, and to go on to play at the next level. It’s finally starting to pay off: colleges are asking for film, your coach’s names, and your academic records.
Wait. That’s not all they are asking for.
“Can I have your Twitter handle?”
“What’s your Instagram name?”
“We are reading every tweet, retweet and post, while always watching what you like, share, and favorite,” says Mike Groulx, assistant women’s basketball coach at Canisius College.
It’s easy to forget that we are being watched via our social media accounts. But just as athletic film shows coaches the type of athletes we are, our social media accounts show coaches the type of people we are. What we post today could have consequences that last forever.
Go look at your accounts. Have you posted anything that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read?
It’s easy to use social media as an outlet to vent about issues concerning family, school, friends, and sports. Social media can almost feel like a virtual counselor. However, negative posts draw the wrong kind of attention: for example, if a high school athlete has a bad game, and then complains about refs, teammates, coaches, etc. on his or her social media accounts, college coaches are going to notice. Biting your tongue can be difficult, but showing restraint indicates you are a leader on and off the court or field—and leaders are what college recruiters are looking for.
Venting is just one type of inappropriate post that could turn off a college coach. Avoid other controversial posts, such as those containing alcohol and drug usage, vulgar or obscene language, political comments, or sexually explicit content. Inappropriate posts make college coaches question your character and maturity level, and indicate things in your life that may distract you from being the best athlete possible.
How deep will recruiters dig to assess your character? Deep, according to Mesa Desert Ridge football coach Jeremy Hathcock. “They’re looking at your friends, your friends’ friends,” Hathcock says. “Because if you happen to smoke weed, or whatever, you’re not going to post it yourself. But it’s your friend’s friend that has the photo.”
Compare these two accounts. If you were a coach, which athlete would you recruit?
Go look at your posts again.
Is there anything on social media that could give someone the wrong impression about who you are? Anything that could ruin your chances of continuing your athletic career in college? If the answer is “yes,” or even “maybe,” delete it.
Learning to use social media intelligently is a skill that athletes can carry throughout life. A business, like a college sports team, doesn’t want to hire anyone who might make their company look bad. Keeping a clean social media presence may not only help you get a college athletic scholarship—one day, it might also help you get a job.
University of Kansas Student-Athlete
Twitter //: @nadiakhechfe16
Instagram //: @naddddddsssss
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