When in Doubt, Leave it Out

Kaylie McConnell

A Michigan high school female athlete decided to take part in one of the many Twitter fights teenagers have. This one was over a boy. At one point she tweeted, “If you don’t stop I’m going to hurt you.”

  Suddenly her scholarship was gone.

  Many people say they don’t care about what other people think of them, but we all know that they do. Students and especially athletes need to understand that colleges will look at prospective students’ social media and will get first impressions based on what they see posted online. They don’t know you as a person yet, and they may not want to based on what they read on your social media sites. That one tweet or Instagram post could be the first impression that a college coach gets, and we all know that first impressions are hard to change.

  Does your social media profile showcase who you want people to see you as?

Brian Chidester is the Director of Operations of College Bound Jocks, a recruiting company that helps connect athletes to college coaches. He works directly with athletes to help them find the right fit academically and athletically.

 Chidester said that recently he had a college coach rescind a scholarship offer to one of his athletes because of something the recruit posted on Twitter. He explained that the girl had verbally committed to a very prestigious Division 1 university last summer and that between her academic and athletic money, she had a full ride.    

 Chidester said one morning he got a text from the college coach regarding that same student-athlete.

 The text read, “I regret to inform you that we are rescinding our offer to your player due to some negative activity she had on social media.” Apparently, there was a big argument over a guy, and the recruit threatened another girl and said some other very derogatory things on Twitter.    

 Someone took a screenshot of those posts and sent them to the college coach. The coach said that she got an email with screenshots of that player’s Twitter posts. The coaches and schools administrators reviewed the posts and discussed the content for over a week and then finally decided they could not take a chance on a player with questionable character and they had to withdraw the offer they had made.

 The coach said she did not want to have a player on her team who would behave in a violent manner. The coach said, “We decided that we were just going to part ways right now while we can, and I will have to find someone else. We do not want to recruit players that we think are going to be potential problems”.

 Although Chidester feels bad for the athlete who lost her scholarship, he understands that the athlete did it to herself. He said, “In one instant, that kid lost a $200,000 scholarship, it’s $50,000 a year to go to that school, and because she wrote something when she was mad her scholarship is gone. But at the end of the day, she’s the one who did it. She can’t deny it, she wrote it and now she has to own it”.

 As one can see, posts on social media are being watched by peers, coaches, teachers, and college administrators. There’s no doubt that these posts can have a serious impact on someone’s life as it did in this situation.

 Chidester said, “You think that they aren’t looking at that stuff? I address this in every conference call we do with kids, so I hope that kids think a little more about what they post. I know for 100% fact that coaches check students social media. Don’t be stupid. You just have got to pay attention.”

 Students, start thinking about how your social media accounts showcase your personality. Think before you post. Ask yourself this: Would I want my grandma to perceive me this way? As Chidester said, “When in doubt, leave it out.”