#21 Recruiting Corner: Starbucks Giftcards, Creating an Account on the Coaches’ Contact Database, & an Interview with Social Media Guru Kevin DeShazo

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Joshua: Hey, guys. Back for another week, it’s the Recruiting Corner. Joshua Zimmerman here. As I introduced last week, my friend Mac. Hope you are all doing well. Guys, couple of things I want to address in the very beginning. Again, I mentioned it last week, $5 Starbucks gift cards for anyone giving us feedback on either what they’re doing in recruiting or, more importantly, what you want to see on the Recruiting Corner.

All you have to do, leave a comment on our blog, whether it’s on the blog, on the website, or on the comment section in our YouTube channel. Go ahead, leave us some information. Leave us an email address so we can go ahead and send you back a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Also, on Mac right now is our coaches’ contact database login site, where you can create your account. Athleticscholarships.net, go to the orange button, bottom right-hand side, hit create your account. It’s free. It’s for you. It’s to help you get started in the recruiting process, help you contact coaches, help you figure out what you want out of school. You can search every coach’s contact in the entire country.

You can break it down by what state you live in, what state you want to go to school, what region, possibly what you want to study. Fill out recruiting questionnaires, figure out the tuition costs, compare and contrast schools. All for you, all the time, right there. It’s free. Sign up for it as soon as possible and start contacting coaches today.

Guys, today’s interview is with Kevin DeShazo. I’m really excited. You guys ready? Let’s go ahead and meet him. Hey, guys, as promised, sitting here with Kevin DeShazo from fieldhousemedia.net. Kevin, how’s it going?

Kevin: Doing well. How are you guys?

Joshua: Hopefully, they’re doing well. I’m doing really well. Really excited to get you on the Recruiting Corner and then see what you have to say about social media. So, guys, just a quick introduction. Kevin’s company helps monitor and educate student athletes’ social media so that they don’t get in trouble, basically.

We’ve talked about it a lot on the Recruiting Corner. Social media can be a very positive thing. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can be a very negative thing, as well. So, Kevin’s going to talk to us about that.

Kevin, the first question I have for you is, why social media? What drew you to social media to start a company that really centers itself around the social media movement?

Kevin: Yeah, good question. I’ve been involved with, and I’m still involved with on some levels, social media consulting and strategy with businesses.

Joshua: Okay.

Kevin: But I have a passion for sports. I’ve always been a sports fan. Following athletes at every level, seeing how they utilize social media and just seeing a lot of mistakes. I thought to myself, okay. They have a significant opportunity. Somebody needs to be showing them the proper way to use this, so that they can use social media to the advantage of both themselves and their program.

Joshua: Okay. Leading into my next question then, which I think is a great segue, why do you feel it’s important that social media, and more importantly, why do you feel it’s important that student athletes learn how to properly use their social media accounts?

Kevin: Yeah. The student athletes, for better or for worse, are under a significant microscope. We’re not going to see a lot of articles in the newspaper about your typical business major, but you are going to see a significant amount of articles in the paper about any number of student athletes. They’re in the public eye, and even more so when it comes to social media. A report came out last week where 22 to 31% of 18 to 24 year olds are now using Twitter on a consistent basis.

Joshua: It’s growing fast.

Kevin: Obviously, [inaudible 00:03:45] being college students. I think it’s important for student athletes being in the public eye that they understand how to use this well. Because people are looking for them to mess up. That’s sad, but they’re looking for them to mess up to make a story out of it.

What I want to hopefully create is, change the culture of that to where the story written about student athletes and social media are positive stories. How they’re using it in an appropriate and positive way to benefit themselves and their university.

Joshua: Fantastic. So, understanding that, your company, Fieldhouse Media, monitors the social media accounts of student athletes if the school decides to bring you folks on. Do you feel that that’s invasion of privacy on some level?

Kevin: Really good question and a really hot topic right now, obviously. I don’t, the way that we do it. I say that, because we do not monitor any private information. So, if they have a private Twitter account, I can’t do anything to make them give me access to it. If they have the privacy settings on their Facebook account set up a certain way, I can’t force them to give access to that information to me.

They’re 18-year-olds. They’re legally adults. We’re not monitoring any public information. In fact, we advise them on how to utilize privacy settings on these social networks, specifically when it comes to Facebook.

Joshua: So, it’s definitely not looked at as when your company comes in, or an athletic department brings you folks on, that every student athlete has to give up their password. It’s more that you’re just making sure that they understand exactly what they should or shouldn’t be putting out there, and making sure that they’re implementing, basically, your strategies.

Kevin: Exactly. We never require them to give us a password for any unethical access to their information. We’re not logging into their accounts. We’re not gaining access. They don’t have to install an app that gives us access to every picture, every status, every relationship. That’s not something I would be comfortable with if they were my kid.

If my kid were in that situation, I wouldn’t be okay with that. That’s the approach that we took to try to be different when it comes to monitoring, because I do believe that there are some companies or ways that it is being done where it is invasive. I don’t think students respond well to that. I think that’s creating a culture of fear, and our approach is social media is a good thing. It’s not a bad thing.

Monitoring isn’t going to prevent some crisis. I mean, if the Tweet happens, it happens. Monitoring isn’t going to prevent a Tweet from happening, but it’s a great compliment to the education side of things. It creates more opportunities to have continued education with these student athletes.

Joshua: In the end, guys, and what Kevin will probably agree with, is that you as a student athlete are representing a brand at that point. You are representing your university, so you go from being an individual student to becoming this aspect of a brand. If you’re a popular student athlete, let’s say a major college football player, you’re even more important to that university, and what you do or say does matter. Would you agree?

Kevin: Absolutely. That’s the thing that gets tricky, because obviously these student athletes aren’t paid, but they are huge ambassadors for their programs. If they’re the starting quarterback of a conference champion or a BCS level program, starting point guard of the basketball team, if they’re a part of these revenue generating sports, they’re a huge face for that program.

Athletics impacts academics. So, it’s important that they understand, when you walk out on a field, you represent more than yourself. You represent more than a jersey on your back, but you’re also representing your family, your hometown, any groups that you happen to be a part of, and the same is true online. It’s understanding who you are and who you represent and making decisions that accurately represent the groups that you are a part of.

Joshua: I couldn’t agree more. An important question for you. What do you think student athletes should consider before making a post on any social media outlet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, any of them?

Kevin: Yeah. One thing that we try to do, which I think is a little bit unique, during our sessions, we tell student athletes, “Look, you have the power to choose your identity and to define your identity online. So, pick three to four identity words that you want to be known for. Maybe it’s hard work, maybe it’s faith, maybe it’s being reliable, whatever the words, but words that you want to be known for.

Every post, put it through that filter. Okay, is this post going to build up my identity that I want to be known for, or is it going to tear it down? If I want to be known as the hardworking student athlete, what is this post going to say about that? How’s it going to reflect that? Is it going to contradict that, or is it going to reinforce this image and this idea that I’m hardworking?

We just want them to put it through that filter and understand, again, who they are, who they represent, and make positive decisions.

Joshua: That’s actually great advice. I love that aspect of creating your own filter and then consistently going back and looking at that. Last question for you. How would you like to see social media be used in recruiting as we sort of venture into the next social media age?

Kevin: Yeah. It’s already obviously playing a significant role, and it’s going to be really interesting. You see a lot of student athletes now, I think it was an assistant coach from West Virginia was on a recruiting trip last week, and he Tweeted this out.

He goes to talk with a kid, the kid just said, “Coach, YouTube me.” These kids are already making their own highlight reels, they’re putting them on YouTube, they’re Tweeting them out. We’ve seen a kid, Kelvin Taylor, former NFL running back Fred Taylor’s son, running back out of Florida, he has his own app–

Joshua: Go Gators!

Kevin: …that the coaches can download that has videos, statistics, where they can [inaudible 00:09:58] in real-time. Not every kid has the financial ability to create an app, but I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to think that a lot more will be doing something like that.

The thing about social media, it’s all about connecting. That’s why I love social media, is I love meeting new people. I love connecting with new people. This is a way that student athletes that may not normally get recognized to get their name out. If they can understand social media, and they truly have talent to play at a league level school, they can now get the attention of a coach or a recruiter from that program because of social media, if they understand how to use it well.

It saves these coaches a lot of time. They’re still going to have to travel and meet kids, but it significantly cuts down on their travel. They can look at highlight reels on YouTube, look at a kid’s Twitter and Facebook page and say, okay, does this kid have the character that we want. Then make a decision, okay, do we want to go now make a visit to this kid. So, there are positives all around, and I just see things moving more and more that direction.

Joshua: All right, guys. Thanks so much for tuning in. That’s our show for us. You know I’m @JZimmy67. The company is @Athnet. Kevin is @fieldhousemedia, and you can check out his website at fieldhousemedia.net. Kevin, thanks so much for being a part of the show. I’ve really appreciated it, sir.

Kevin: Okay. Thanks for letting me come.

Joshua: All right, guys. You guys have a great one. Tune in next week. Thanks.

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