High profile College Football prospects have discovered that schools are monitoring their social networks. Public social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have gotten college athletes in trouble in the past and are being used to vet and at times communicate with potential recruits.
According to the AJC:
Social Media is a new and popular way for colleges to both monitor and communicate with potential recruits. Just about every elite recruit has a Facebook or Twitter account, or both.
Coaches are on there, too. Georgia’s Mark Richt, after expressing reluctance, returned to Twitter last week after an 1,072-day absence to publicize the program and get noticed by recruits.
Under NCAA rules, a coach can send a Facebook friend request to a prospective student-athlete and follow them on Twitter.
And once they do, they are often finding out a lot of new information. Some of it good, some of it not so good.
“I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and you name it,” Virginia coach Mike London said. “You will find out more about guys on Facebook and Twitter sometimes than you will having a 10-minute conversation with them because a lot of times they will let their guard down and show a side maybe you haven’t thought about before.”
Said Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, “The society we live in now, how kids are growing up, [Social Media] is a huge part of their lives. It’s a huge part of what they do and how they communicate. So we embrace it … It’s another way to build relationships and get to know people.”
Unfortunately for some recruits, their comments and tweets are also destroying relationships with colleges.
Last year, one of New Jersey’s top prospects was expelled from school and reportedly had scholarship offers withdrawn after posting explicit messages on Twitter.
Duluth High School coach Corey Jarvis said one of his former players was recently kicked off a college team for the same reasons. “It was the final straw. It was stuff that shouldn’t have been posted. I understood where the college was coming from. He was representing the program when he did that.”
It became such a concern to Lovejoy High School coach Al Hughes that he finally gave in and created Facebook and Twitter accounts, simply to observe the team.
“I’m on there for the same reason as most college coaches – I wanted to know what was going on and keep up with the pulse of the team,” he said. “We’ve told all our kids to be careful what you say because you’re being watched.”
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