Most college sports fans are familiar with the University of Oregon’s close relationship with Nike and the benefits that come with their relationship. The Ducks typically bring out trendy new jerseys each season, and the Casanova Center is a state of the art training facility funded by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Well, Oregon recently unveiled its newest toy- a social media center called the “Quack Cave.”
Imitation is the Finest Form of Flattery
The University of Oregon is the first athletic department to unveil a social media center, making the Ducks once again ahead the trend in college athletics. The Quack Cave allows Oregon’s social media team (comprised mostly of current students) to monitor all of their social media and digital media sites in real time. The social media team monitors Oregon’s Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages, which are all hooked up to different flat-screen TVs.
Oregon may be the first to create a state of the art social media headquarters, but they surely won’t be the last. Social media is exploding in college sports and athletic departments must prepare themselves for the change. Fans have unprecedented access to information about their sports teams, and social media provides a great avenue for schools to increase their interaction with already passionate fan bases.
Football is very much a copycat sport, and other athletic departments will take notice of the new Quack Cave. It won’t be long before teams like LSU and Alabama start looking at ways they can increase their presence on social media and do a better job engaging with their fans.
What Else Could it be Used for?
College coaches are increasing their presence on social media channels to help them with recruiting. The Quack Cave could be used to monitor both recruits and current team members to make sure they aren’t doing anything inappropriate. A social media center also allows not only fans, but prospective recruits the ability to constantly communicate with their athletic departments. This will help athletes build good relationships with the teams they want to play for, ultimately leading them to find the best opportunity to play in college.
Now more than ever athletes have to be aware of what they are saying on social media, and what pictures and videos are being posted of them (learn how you can clean up your profiles). This is just the tip of the iceberg; in fact, some colleges are already searching their athletes’ profiles for keywords that may indicate questionable behavior.
What do you think about the new Quack Cave? Is it going to influence college sports and recruiting, or is it a waste of money? Let us know in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!
Social media, and mostly Twitter, has entrenched itself in the college recruiting world, and it’s only going to continue to dig in deeper. Social media allows information to travel at basically instantaneous speed, which makes it the perfect vehicle for coaches to learn more about recruits, and vice-versa.
We love to talk about social media at Athnet. We’ve discussed social media’s increasing popularity before; we’ve even discussed how important it is for athletes to clean up their social media accounts, and ways that athletes can use social media in recruiting.
The Hoop Group, a company dedicated to running basketball camps and helping athletes hone their skills and gain exposure to college coaches, recently published an article talking about the three major ways college coaches use social media in recruiting. You can read the entire article here for more information about coaches and social media.
They Can Get Important News and Learn About the Top Tournaments
The first way coaches use social media is to educate themselves about current college sports and recruiting news, as well as learn where the best showcase tournaments are going to be held during their evaluation periods. Coaches can easily follow writers and the news outlets that publish information about college sports and recruiting via Twitter. Sports writers represent a very active segment of Twitter users. Coincidentally, sports writers are also one of the sources of recruiting information for college coaches.
Figure out what writers coaches are following, and you can get the same up-t0-date news that coaches receive. This is a great way to learn more about recruiting, and for you to learn what camps and showcases coaches are attending, because we all know that going to a showcase without any coaches in attendance won’t help you get recruited.
Coaches Learn More About Athletes they Want to Recruit
The second reason coaches use Twitter is something we have been very vocal about; coaches use Twitter to learn more about potential athletes they want to recruit. There is no way to say this clearer: if you are tweeting about parties or other inappropriate things, you are taking a huge risk and you ultimately may lose not only a scholarship opportunity, but a walk-on chance as well.
They Can Also Learn About Current Athletes
Finally, coaches use social media to gather information on their current athletes. Think you’re out of the woods once you’ve made it to college? Think again. College coaches are starting to use social media sites to monitor what their athletes are doing.
Do you have questions about the recruiting process you would like us to answer on the recruiting corner? You can contact us on Twitter, Facebook or leave your questions in the comments at the bottom of the page!
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.
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.
Athletes ask us all the time, “How can I get college scouts to come my games.” Our response to this usually goes something like this: “Have you asked any scouts or college coaches to attend your games?” Most athletes were not even aware or even considered picking up the phone or sending over a quick email asking coaches to attend their games, tournaments or matches.
If you expect to get recruited for college sports, you will need to get your name out to coaches as soon as your freshman and sophomore years of high school.
The truth is; athletes, who sit around waiting for scouts or college coaches to show-up to one of their games, may be waiting for a very long time. As a recruit you need to be consistently on the look-out for college programs and always working on your recruitment. There is no time to waste.
What You Need to Say
College coaches need to know you will be an asset to their program. The best way to get their attention is to show them. Start by emailing them your sports resume and links to your video footage.
Once you feel ready to begin calling coaches and talking, go for it. If you really want to impress coaches do your research; get caught up on the coach’s records and major breakthroughs during the year, if you are knowledgeable about the team it will show in your conversation. Most importantly, just be prepared for the conversation. Know what you are going to ask in advance. There is nothing worse than making a horrible first-impression to college coaches.
Reaching out to coaches on social media platforms is always a good idea. See what they are talking about, follow their advice and every once in a while ask them a question. Think about what you are asking them before you do it on a public forum. NCAA coaches are bound to strict recruiting guidelines of when and how they can talk with recruits.
What you need to keep in mind; top college coaches are being inundated with information from recruits around the world. It will sometimes be hard to get their attention no matter what you do.
The important part for you is to make yourself stand out from the crowd, capitalize on something which will set you apart from the rest of the recruiting class and be persistent when you reach out to college coaches.
Joshua: Hey guys. Welcome back. The Recruiting Corner is here. I know you’ve missed us. We’ve missed you. I want to introduce somebody new. This is Judy. Judy works here in the office, and she does a lot for us. So she’s going to start joining us on The Recruiting Corner, as are a lot of different faces. So you’re going to see a rotation here, but of course, I’m your standard fixture. Sorry about that.
Judy, how are things?
Judy: Doing well, Josh. Thank you. I’m excited to be here at Recruiting Corner. This is all new to me, so be nice. It will finally be nice for you guys to see who I am because I know I’ve talked to a few of you via email, Facebook, Twitter, those kinds of things. So I’m excited.
Joshua: As I said, Judy does a lot. The first question we have for you, and something we try to focus on, and really is the reason of our absence is: Why don’t you like us? Seriously, though, we’ve noticed that over the past 18 episodes of The Recruiting Corner, we’re just not getting the views that we really want. We’re here every day trying to make your lives better, and NOBODY’S PAYING ATTENTION. It saddens me, breaks my heart, and we want to know.
Judy: We’ve been doing a few things. Josh invited me here on Recruiting Corner, so this is going to be great. Hopefully more of you will see it. But as far as reaching out to you guys, we want to know what you want. We want to know what you want to see on The Recruiting Corner, what you want to see on our Facebook, what you want to see on our website, and what you want to see on Twitter. We are open to all of your feedback. We want to hear from you.
We’ve been posting some funny stuff on Facebook. Josh is a funny guy. You guys have been liking it, but if you have other ideas, we’re game. We want to hear it. I’ve had a great opportunity to reach out from my personal Facebook as well as from the Athnet Facebook to talk to people who’ve talked to us before and asked us recruiting questions.
I’ve talked to Lorena [SP], she’s a tennis player, great conversation with her. She’s doing really well in her tennis recruiting as an international student. That was awesome, getting to talk to her. I also got to talk to a parent, Mike, awesome conversation on the phone. He called up, had all these great insights, was saying how much he liked our Facebook and how all the information that we’re putting on there is helping him and his family with his son’s recruitment.
We love hearing those kind of stories. Even if it’s just a great story, we want to hear it. We want to hear how you guys are doing.
Joshua: To reiterate, guys, what Judy’s saying is your opinion matters to us. We don’t do this for us. We do this for you. We want you to tell us if what we’re telling you makes sense. If everything that we’ve talked about on The Recruiting Corner and everything we’re putting on Facebook and on our blog and everything else doesn’t make sense to you, we need to know that. But the only way we’re going to know that is if you folks are interactive with us, letting us know what matters to you. If it’s great information and you’re using it, let us know. If it’s horrible information and you’re not using it, let us know. It’s going to allow us to do a better job in teaching you. Now you mentioned Facebook. As I mentioned, Judy is 95% of the time the person you speak to on Facebook. If you write us a comment, she’s writing you back. If you write us on Twitter, she’s writing you back. Let’s talk about that. What kind of conversations have you been having on Facebook and Twitter?
Judy: I’ve been having great conversations. You guys ask great questions. A lot of people come to our Facebook, it seems like they’re finding us to get started in their recruiting. So we have a lot of questions. Just being like, “Hey. How do I get recruited?” We have tons of resources we can supply you with. The links and everything from our website, I’m happy to give out to you guys to get started, to learn about the recruiting process, whether it’s going to be creating your sports resume or even getting video out. A lot of the video stuff, Josh can help out with.
Joshua; Listen, if you guys have a highlight video and you want somebody to critique it, throw it up on Facebook, send it to me via YouTube. If you want a resume, you have no idea how to make a resume, let us know. We’ll send you a template. We even have an entire e-book on how to write resumes. All sorts of resources all free, all the time. All you have to do is take two minutes, write us an email. Take two minutes, write us a comment on Facebook. I know you’re talking to your friends on Facebook. Talk to us, let us know what you want, let us help you out, let us help you be successful.
Speaking of Facebook, do we have a Facebook question?
Judy: Let’s see here, Facebook question. We actually have one from yesterday, Fernando. Can a community college student get recruited to play at the NCAA Division One?
Joshua: It’s a great question. Obviously, yes, you can get recruited to any division via playing junior college, and junior college is a great stepping stone. You go to junior college for two reasons. Number one, you need athletic development. Number two, you need academic development. Those are usually the two reasons that people go to junior college. It is a stepping stone. Eligibility issues are hammered out a lot in junior college. There are certain schools that do pluck junior college athletes. Not every school recruits, but you do have a good opportunity to be recruited from a junior college if you’re pro-active. That’s a big key term there, pro-activity.
You want to share anything else with the guys?
Judy: I have a couple more shout-outs from all these great people that we talk to on Facebook.
Joshua: Shout-outs are great. We like shout-outs.
Judy: Becky was a parent I got to talk to. She emailed me with all these questions I have been asking Facebook folks. Sherika also emailed me. She’s a basketball coach. It seems like she’s working really hard on getting her athletes out there, getting their names out to coaches.
Joshua: Kudos to coaches who are helping their athletes.
Judy: One of our favorites, Lodewijk . . .
Joshua: Lodewijk, how are you doing, buddy?
Judy: Lodewijk is always out there helping us out, giving us good feedback; even helping others out. Lodewijk, we love it.
Joshua: Lodewijk is Athnet’s number one fan. He’s awesome. If you guys aren’t friends with him, try to become friends with him. He’s a really good guy, and you see him all over our Facebook wall. So thank you very much.
Judy: He knows a lot about recruiting, as well. And last, but not least, we want to talk about the little giveaway we’re going to do?
Joshua: Yeah. Judy, all you.
Judy: For watching this, for letting me be here to help Josh talk, we want to give you guys a Starbucks e-giftcard. All you have to do is we’re going to give it to the first five people who comment on this on our YouTube, as far as what you’re doing in your recruiting. That’s all we want to know, what you are doing in your recruiting, whether it’s going to be starting off, or whether you’ve contacted five coaches or 500 coaches. Tell us!
Joshua: Let us know what’s going on. First five, you comment on the YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to. Via this video you can also comment on the blog. First five people to comment, we will send you a $5 Starbucks e-giftcard so you can get hopped up on caffeine.
You will never get a full appreciation for a program just by talking to a coach, but you can learn how to use social media outlets to connect with athletes at the programs you will potentially play for. Athletes can give you a candid evaluation of a college and the athletic team because they have already gone down the same path you are going. Here is how you can use social media to get inside information from your potential teammates:
First Things First: Don’t Paint a Bad Picture of Yourself on Social Media
If you are going to use social media (for recruitment or for personal use), you need to be aware of the things you say.
It is too easy in this day and age to lose a scholarship because of what you say on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.
Start by Looking at a Team’s Roster
Go to the schools you are interested in and look at the rosters. Pick out the names of athletes that are currently on the roster. Try choosing a few athletes from different graduating years. Contacting athletes from different years will give you a better impression of how the program has developed. It is always a great idea to do some research on a program before reaching out, whether you are contacting a coach or an athlete. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs with questions that could have been easily researched. In addition, it will give you insightful information to bring up in conversation.
Search for the Athletes on Social Media Sites
Start with Facebook because it is easy to search for someone’s name and school on Facebook. You can use Twitter as well, but it may be harder to find people. On Twitter, try using the search function and select the people option. You can also look at an athletic department or team’s main Twitter handle and see if those athletes follow them or are mentioned by those Twitter accounts.
What You Should Say to the Athletes
Once you have found athletes to contact, you can send them a message introducing yourself as a potential recruit. Tell them you are interested in learning more about the program and the university and you want to know if it is all right to ask them some questions. Some athletes may say no, but don’t be discouraged because many of them will be open to sharing their thoughts and answering your questions. You can ask them questions about practice schedules, off-season training, campus life, or any other aspect about a college or sports program that interests you.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefit of talking directly to athletes is their ability to tell you more about the student life and how athletes perceive a university and the coaches of the team. Coaches will be honest with you, but they may not address some negative factors (for instance, how much the cafeteria food stinks). Athletes will have inside insights into all aspects of college life at a particular university.
You Still Need To Be Recruited by a Coach
Don’t think that all it takes to get recruited is to develop a good relationship with a college athlete. The coach is still the person who will decide whether you will get a scholarship. Make sure to continue your conversations with coaches as well as their athletes.
Twitter and other social media sites are becoming ingrained in the media and advertising associated with college sports. In a giant leap forward with this integration, ESPN has recently posted the Twitter account names of the basketball players of the game they were covering.
I first read the story over on Fieldhouse Media, a company that seeks to educate college athletes and programs on how to properly use social media and Twitter. We cover a lot of stories about how athletes or coaches are getting in trouble because of Twitter. The facts is social media is not going to go away, and I genuinely like the approach of Fieldhouse Media. They teach you to embrace social media and learn how to use it properly rather than try and control it through restrictions.
Advice for Recruits on Social Media
I wanted to share some advice for recruits on social media and Twitter. Over on our Twitter account handle, @Athnet, we get a lot of questions from recruits, and we answer them as soon as possible. When we answer a good question, we try and follow those athletes. We are seeing so many young student athletes using Twitter like their own private conversation with friends, and you need to understand these conversations are broadcast to the world.
You might not end up with your Twitter handle on ESPN while you are playing college sports, but coaches and future employers are searching your online profiles to learn more about you. Making insensitive, abusive, or inappropriate comments will catch up to you. The solution is not to stay away from Twitter or any other social media but to apply some basic control.
Social Media Has too Many Benefits in the Recruiting Process Not to Use It
Following your potential teams on Twitter and Facebook can help you get to know them better. This will lead to you choosing a program that is the best fit for you. However, you have to treat your status updates and tweets like a college coach is going to read them.
If you have any questions about what you should be doing on social media, read some of the blogs over at Fieldhouse Media or ask for help in the comments section below. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!
Do you have questions you want answered on the Recruiting Corner? Ask them in the comments below.
Joshua: Hey guys, welcome back to another round of The Recruiting
Corner. Joshua Zimmerman, David Frank, as always. How are things going?
David: Going well, loving it. Obviously, if you don’t know, signing
day was this week, this past Wednesday. Awesome news coming as
always. No puppies, no crazy over the top stories this year, but
lots of interesting stuff. We’ll get right to it. Coming from
Inthebleachers.net, great story about the Twitter backlash on
commits. It’s getting crazy. What’s going on?
Joshua: So basically, we talk about social media quite a bit and the
way that social media might be able to help you out as a
recruit. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that
use social media for negative impacts. We read it on
Inthebleachers.net as David mentioned, and we saw a lot of
athletes who are getting negative feedback on their choices of
their college commit. So basically, obviously being signing day,
football was the big highlight. There were a lot of athletes
that basically took it in the pants for the fact that they made
the choices they did, and a lot of people were saying some
pretty rude stuff. That’s an unfortunate part of the social
media process that you sort of have to be open to and realize
when you have an account like that, but it’s still unfortunate.
David: Yeah, no good to see, but there’s nothing we can stop about it.
It’s going to be a trend you’re just going to have to learn to
deal with. Another story, okay, maybe it wasn’t any puppies and
crazy stories, but this one’s ridiculous. Casanova McKenzie
committed to Auburn over Clemson because Auburn was closer to a
Joshua: I don’t disagree with him. I love Chick-fil-A. It’s a fantastic
restaurant. Shout out to Chik-fil-A there. But yeah, pretty
crazy. You know we talk about recruits all the time that are
going to be choosing their schools because of the academics the
schools can offer them or because of the athletic opportunities.
Possibly they want to be near a city. Maybe they want to be as
far away from a city. They like the region, they like the
weather, whatever. Those are important things to focus on. He
chose Chick-fil-A. I can’t argue with him. I may not understand
it. But at the same time, I wanted to be close to a Chick-fil-A
David: At least he knows what he wants out of a school. Better than
some recruits I suppose. I wanted to follow up on a story from
last week. Junior Gnonkonde was the defensive end recruit we
covered who got his scholarship pulled by Georgia Tech. Good
news for Junior. He actually committed before signing day but
signed yesterday with the University of North Carolina. Georgia
Tech QBs watch out. Junior is coming for you.
Joshua: Revenge is sweet.
David: Yeah. So one important thing to remember is signing day gets
tons of publicity. You’ve got kids signing all over the place.
But you’ve got to remember this is just the start of the signing
period. This is not the only time to sign a scholarship. So
really what’s the news for kids going forward? What’s the
signing period all about, and what do kids need to know?
Joshua: Well basically, guys, understand that February 1st is the first
day of signing period. August 1st is the last day of signing
period. And there’s a marker in there in the beginning, which
would be April 11. So there are different sports signing at all
different periods, and of course they’re for the D1 and D2
divisions as well. So basically, just understand that a lot of
hype is put around February 1st, but it’s not the only day that
kids are signing scholarships. And football wasn’t the only
signing period that opened yesterday. So there are a lot of
other sports that opened up as well.
David: Right, it’s a trickle down. So once you get the top schools
committing and locking up their classes, the schools underneath
start to see what kids are available. It’s this time as a senior
it’s critical you get out there, you contact coaches, because
there’s a really good chance you can fill a seat that they need
because maybe some recruits that they were hoping would fall to
them didn’t fall. So it’s just the start, but you’ve got to get
David: All right. Great article coming from the LA Times. Author Eric
Sondheimer wrote a really great piece about, in his opinion, how
high school sports aren’t becoming as important in the
recruiting process, and he’s really pushing like the club sports
and the travel ball. Why don’t you explain what that story’s all
Joshua: Well, I agree with his opinion 50%. So basically, what he’s
stating is about a baseball player in Southern California that
earned a scholarship to University of San Diego by not playing
high school baseball. He hasn’t played since his freshman year.
Instead, he opted to play some high level club ball. Most
coaches, if you play a sport that has a club, they’re going to
want to see you play that club. And I agree with that because in
club sports you see the best athletes. You see kids that are
probably going to be playing in college. I believe in the
article the UC Irvine coach said it best where they want to
recruit from the clubs because those are where the best athletes
are. Now, when you consider the high school football, high
school basketball, high school baseball, high school football
doesn’t have club sports, so you’re still going to get your best
athletes there. Basketball and baseball still are pretty heavy,
although you do have the AAU’s and things, they’re still pretty
heavy into the high school scene. So I don’t see it, but I do
see it with all your other high school sports that are more
David: I can’t say that you should only play travel or you should only
play high school. Play them both. If you need to make a decision
one way or the other, you need to have one of those discussions
with your coaches, both high school and travel.
Joshua: Communication is going to be key.
David: All right. Great question coming off our Facebook page, again
from Joanna Johnson. She’s got a daughter who’s a freshman,
tennis player. She wants to know, “What do we need to begin
Joshua: Joanna, thanks for participating on the Facebook page. You guys
all know you can at any point. Basically, for your daughter the
biggest thing is going to be tournaments. Tennis is one of those
sports that tournaments count, and coaches are looking for heavy
rankings. They want that USTA ranking. They want to see you
playing in the regional tournaments. They want to see you
playing in the big USTA tournaments. So you’re going to have to
start planning that out.
As you’re planning out her tournament circuit, you also want to
be looking at all her statistics. She’s a freshman this year.
You have a great opportunity to start keeping her statistics
early. If you can start keeping them early, you have the
opportunity to really show coaches her progression over a
several year period. Then also, school lists. Just because she’s
a freshman doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know what she wants at
this point. Start researching schools. Start possibly taking
visits to schools. You have an unlimited amount of unofficial
visits to use. I’d think about using some.
David: Yeah, all great points. I want to go right back to what you
were talking about the rankings and keeping track. Tennis, maybe
more so than any other sport, one big win against a highly
ranked competitor can do so much for your recruiting. It’s
really critical that as an athlete, as someone that wants to
play tennis at the college level, you’re playing against the
best, because you might not beat the best every time, but one or
two big wins can really go a long way in getting you a tennis
David: All right, guys, that about wraps it up for this week. Going
into another great weekend here on the West Coast. Josh, what
are you doing?
Joshua: Super Bowl man. We’ve got the Giants/Pats game on Sunday, so
it’s definitely going to be a fun weekend. Who’s your pick?
David: I want to see the Patriots win. I think they’re going to do it.
Belichick and Brady going for that redemption against the
Giants, I think it’s going to happen. What about you?
Joshua: You know I’m a Dolphins fan at heart. I have to stick with the
AFC East. Although I despise Tom Brady when they’re playing the
Dolphins, he’s an amazing athlete and looking forward to a Pats
win as well.
David: All right. Awesome guys. Let’s wrap it up.
Joshua: Guys, hey, thanks for tuning in. You guys know you can contact
us at any point with questions @JZimmy67, @DavidRFrank, always
@Athnet. Have a great one.
I spend a lot of time discussing social media and its impacts on college recruiting. Social media is redefining the way colleges recruit. Unfortunately, it seems like 99 percent of social media and recruiting stories focus on the negative effects. I wanted to change things up and highlight a coach and a program that I think are doing an excellent job of using social media (in this case blogs) to make the recruiting process better for coaches and athletes.
Coach Matt Thurmond has been the head golf coach at the University of Washington since 2001 and has led the Huskies to eight NCAA championships in the last eleven years; they were only one stroke from making it last year. While one might not think of the Pacific Northwest as a hot spot for golf, Coach Thurmond and his program consistently pull some of the top junior golf talent in the country up north.
Coach Thurmond’s (not so) Secret Weapon
In my opinion, one of the Huskies’ secret weapons is the very public and excellent blog maintained by the team and the personal blog run by Coach Thurmond. Before Facebook and Twitter, there was blogging, and there is no single better way to let people get to know you online than by blogging.
The golf team’s blog oozes with personality, and any potential recruit who spends time reading the articles will get a sense right away if UW would be the right fit for them. These aren’t your stale updates about how the team finished in their tournaments or how former players are doing on tour. These are fun posts with a personality that would make any fun-loving junior golfer immediately want to play for the Huskies. It’s not the only college team blog out there, but it’s surely one of the best.
Ask a College Coach Anything on Coach Thurmond’s Blog
Coach Thurmond also runs a personal blog where he says, “Ask me anything.” He gives timely and straightforward answers to recruits, parents, and interested college golf fans alike. If you are a recruit interested in UW, this is a great opportunity to get your question answered by the coach. For Coach Thurmond, he gets to have his answers out there for other recruits who might be too shy to ask on their own.
Overall, this is one of the best uses of social media and blogging I’ve seen by a college program. Of course blogging and recruiting is not the only part to running a successful NCAA Division I golf team, but letting recruits know what to expect when coming to UW most certainly helps with getting new recruits comfortable right away. Great job, UW men’s golf team and Coach Thurmond, and good luck this spring!
Are you connecting with the programs you are interested in on social media? Have you added the teams on Facebook or Google+? Remember you can ask your questions in the comments section below or join our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page.