Heads-up for high school athletes in social media

By Anne Collier

College coaches reportedly take all the information they can get about potential recruits in high school, and some of that information now comes from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. “The effect of social media postings on the status of [even the top] prospects with the schools recruiting them has been an issue for several years,” NJ.com reports, telling the story of Yuri Wright, a top high school football player in New Jersey who was expelled last month for posting “sexually graphic and racial” tweets in Twitter. “Ranked as the 40th best recruit in the country by ESPN,” Wright was considering playing for Rutgers University, the University of Notre Dame, and University of Colorado when he got expelled from Don Basco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, N.J. This was “the first well-publicized casualty in high school recruiting,” NJ.com reported at the time (late January). Unless Wright had hopes for Rutgers that got dashed by the expulsion, his prospects are intact – Rivals.com later reported that, “after a much publicized situation on Twitter, [Wright] surprised many by committing to Colorado.” But the fact that his explicit tweets rivaled his athletic skills with coaches should be a clear message about online reputation management for high school athletes – and students in general. Usually the best solution is a lot of negative publicity online is countermeasures such as having a blog that changes the subject. Wright, if he cares, could have a blog about a different subject, a cause or activity he cares about that reflects positively on him.

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