Social Media & The Risks: What should I & should not post?

Social Media has become a big part of every day life for people all over the world. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter to name a few. However, should you be careful to what you post, and what you send privately to your friends and family? The answer is Yes! Below are important things to know:

Accidental or Non Accidental Promotion

It is common to be sponsored at a young age by brands to assist you with your sport. It doesn’t matter if you are given a large quantity of gear for free or very limited gear for free. Sponsorship is a huge professional movement and you need to be careful with what you post on social media. Saying something like “thank you Nike for these pairs of shoes” will breach your eligibility status. All it takes is a little bit of investigation by the NCAA (which happens) and you may be suspended as a result from college competition. This might even be accidental as well! If you post something like “loving these Nike shoes” and mean nothing by it in regards to promotion, you still may be penalised. In conclusion stay away from promoting any products!

Illegal Activity

If you are not aware of the USA legal system, then it might cost you your scholarship. An example is in New Zealand the legal drinking age is 18 years old, where as in the USA it is 21 years old. If a photo of you is on Facebook or a Snapchat screenshot is sent around of you doing something illegal (in the eyes of USA constitution) then the possibility of a college coach seeing it increases. College coaches will be stalking your profile! If they can’t see your photos on Facebook they will stalk your friends to see if there are any photos of you there. This is because they wantto find out who you really are as a person.If you carry out illegal activity from a college coaches’perspective, they won’t recruit you. Remember you are not competing for yourself, but the coach, team and University. Be careful and make smart decisions!

Stay clear of online forum debates

It is absolutely OK to have an opinion on politics, sport or any other ideal. However, if you get into a “rant” with another person on a social media platform and you are arguing with someone, then it may make you less recruitable. A coach needs to know if you will be able to get along with the teammates. If you are a very opinionated person and have a history of arguing with people on certain topics, this may turn coach’s attention away from you. One example could be the USA presidential election. You may not agree with Donald Trump, but the coach or the teammates might! If you express your opinion against theirs then you will be limiting the schools who will offer scholarships. Stay clear and focus more on your athletic profile.

Are you breaching NCAA rules without knowing?

As mentioned earlier in the article there are some obvious things to prevent you breaking NCAA rules (illegal activity & maintaining amateurism), however without you knowing you rules important could ruin your college career before it even starts. For example, if you are freshman or a sophomore in High School (first two years) and a college coach adds you on Facebook and starts a conversation, then that is a breach of the NCAA bylaws! Now you might be thinking that how will the NCAA know about your conversation? All it takes is someone who knows about this to contact the NCAA who wants the scholarship you are being offered. Don’t put yourself at risk, know the rules and be smart on social media!

No Profanity

This is an obvious one! As said, you are representing the University. Even if you are in college and your favourite team loses the NBA Playoffs and you tweet a swear word, that could get you in trouble! All schools have a bulletin or a news paper which gets published. Remember when you compete for a team, especially at the big schools, you are seen as a super star ad a role model. If you use profanities on any form of social media, it may get published! No college coach wants a headache! Stay clear from any trouble and make sure you act in a professional manner at all times!

These are the most important points to know! Be careful, be smart and train hard!