“I’ve turned down players based on Twitter pictures. It’s just how I choose to run our program.” Arkansas Head Football Coach, Bret Bielema.
This is not to be taken lightly, you may have recognized this discussion from college coaches more recently in the past couple weeks. When we asked our good friend and Ole Miss Defensive GA, Christian Robinson
How & Why Social Media Has Become A Significant Part of the Recruiting Process
Prior to 2012, the main form of communication between college coaches and prospective students athletes (PSA) that the NCAA addressed was phone calls and text messages. Both of which are accompanied by significant limits for coach such as; frequency of calls, time of year, and school year of the PSA. This led to the innovative coaches turning to communication platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where not only PSA’s were spending a lot of their time, but where the NCAA had not yet established restrictions or hard guidelines on communication.
The rule was set in stone back in 2012, when the NCAA decided to allow coaches to communicate with PSA’s on social media via Direct Messages (not publicly), with nearly no limits or restrictions. Among other reasons, the NCAA felt this leveled the paying field. Social media is a free communication platform, meaning prospects that don’t have access a cell phone but do have a Twitter or Facebook, still have the the same recruiting and communication opportunities as those that do have a cell phone.
Now over three years later, the majority of communication between college coaches and prospects happens on social media. This means coaches are using social media to recruit, and inevitably this has led to coaches learning more about their prospects character, how they act, post, and communicate on social media.
Like it or not – college athletics is a business
The reality of it is, college athletics is a business and these coaches are taking a risk on every athlete they provide a scholarship to, therefore these coaches must evaluate an individual to the best of their ability and ultimately make a judgment call. Coaches must consider, “Given the skill level of this athlete and what they can bring to my program, is this person worth the risk/reward?” Fortunately, t
Are you, your child, or the athletes you coach, considering college athletics after High School?
Share these 5 steps to prepare your social media profiles for recruitment:
1. Get An Outsiders Perspective – Because coaches are judging you based on the content you are posting on social media, you need to get an outside opinion of your social media presence. Ask a coach, a mentor, a friend’s parent, ask someone that will be critical of your social media presence. Be sure to tell them why you are asking.
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2. Content Cleaning Time – Social Media is your stage, what are you saying on your stage? Here is a good test for you; If we were to put you on a stage in front of; a random audience of as many people that follow you on social media and you had to read all your posts/tweets/re-tweets out loud to that audience, could you say all of them with confidence? Do a cleanse of your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles.You can do this manually, which could take awhile.
Or if you would rather not waste time scrolling through page after page of your old posts, use our “Clean Up My Social Media History” tool. This tool goes back in time, screens your content, and ID’s posts that COULD be taken out of context and misrepresent you. We bring these post to your attention and even enable you to delete them straight from our platform. If you would rather just “Edit” a post, we also provide you a link to go straight to that post and make your edits. We will never post or delete without your direct permission.
3. Removing Photos – Coach Bielema is not the only one looking at your pictures. Delete any questionable photos. Start with your profile photos, are they appropriate? Any reference to illegal activity, whether its an organic post or a re-tweet, in the eyes of many coaches a re-tweet is an endorsement of that content and are viewed the same and should also be taken down. What is questionable content? Refer to this info graphic for help –
4. Be Different – Your social media presence is your chance to separate yourself from the herd and begin building your brand. Show coaches that you are dedicated and focused on your craft. Post about the early morning workouts, the film study, your intellect of the game. Post about your school, interesting hobbies, etc. Let your personality show & build a strong presence that positively reflects your character and reflects your commitment.
As Penn State Head Football Coach, James Franklin put it in an interview with 247 Sports, “I love when I direct message a kid at 5:30 in the morning and he texts me back at 5:45am. That tells you something about the kid, or the kid that is up all night posting stuff a 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning, and it’s Wednesday during the school year…I don’t punish a kid that doesn’t respond back to me, but it does tell you something about a kid who’s up rolling at 6 o’clock on a Saturday.”
5. Show Coaches You ‘Get It’– Again, it’s not about whether re-tweeting “inappropriate” memes is an endorsement of that content, or using an excessive amount of expletives is just young people being young, it’s about having a strong social media presence you are showing coaches that you ‘get it’. You are showing you understand your online presence is important and that you are not a kid that this coach will need worry about off the field. Once you have improved your Stacked Score, both by cleaning up old risky posts and consistently not posting inappropriate content, show coaches you ‘get it’ and share your score via social media.
Being able to post smart & use your social media stage to positively represent your character as a person, is the ultimate goal. Seek out professional athletes social media pages that give back to their communities or simply use their status to do good for others and set positive examples while building their brands.