Warning: Social Media Has Changed NCAA Recruiting Forever
There is no doubt that social media has forever changed the way college coaches are recruiting high school athletes for their programs. While the NCAA’s overall social media policies are unclear to say the least, when it comes to social media and recruiting, the NCAA does have specific rules.
NCAA Recruiting & Social Media Rules
These are the official rules on Social Media and NCAA Recruiting
Divisions I and II look at social networking less in terms of the technology being used and more in terms of its recruiting impact. NCAA rules do not allow comments about possible recruits on an institution’s social media page or a page belonging to someone affiliated with the institution. In addition, these pages cannot feature photos of prospects and messages cannot be sent to recruits using these social media technologies other than through their e-mail function.
Since texting is impermissible, if a coach becomes aware that a recruit has elected to receive direct messages as text messages on a mobile device, the coach must cease communicating with the recruit through the social networking site. All other electronically transmitted correspondence including, but not limited to, text messaging, Instant Messenger, chat rooms or message boards [e.g., a user’s wall] within a social networking Web site or through other services or applications remain impermissible.
Twitter has also become a popular recruiting tool in college athletics. Tweeting is permissible as long as coaches are not using it to contact individual prospective student-athletes and are abiding by the standard recruiting rules such as not discussing specific recruits or contacting them when it is not permissible.
So let’s take a look at this and see what it means for the high school recruit. First, if you are currently getting your Facebook updates and messages sent to your phone via text, get rid of that option immediately. You could be putting the school of your choice in jeopardy of violating NCAA recruiting regulations. My guess is that you have a smartphone, so download an app that lets you check your social sites through the browser rather than via text. That one is a simple fix and opens up a wider range of coaches who will be willing to contact you through social media.
The NCAA does limit the number of phone calls a coach can make to a recruit and has completely banned text messaging. Contact through social media is another story and is far less regulated. While coaches still can’t post on Facebook walls or publicly Tweet at recruits, they can send messages to recruits on Facebook and direct message recruits via Twitter. If you are not on both of those platforms then you are limiting your opportunities for contact.
Aside from contacting recruits, coaches are also using social media as a way to keep tabs on recruits and what they are doing. They look at things like who a recruit may be friending and following as a means to see who else is showing interest in a recruit. Everything you do in social media is sending a message to coaches and what you say and do is being interpreted all the time. With so much at stake you had better invest in some social media training for high school athletes to make sure that you are doing everything right. Just because you use social media every day to talk to your friends, does not mean you know how to use it in the recruiting process. The smart recruit will seek training from experts who know how social media is being used by schools for NCAA recruiting.
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