Parents, coaches, and teachers often talk on the potential downfalls of irresponsible use of social media. Just recently, Penn State made a strong case for why athletes should pay even closer attention as it cost one of their recruits a full-ride scholarship to the Big 10 school.
Penn State Drops Recruit Due to Social Media Mishap
Just yesterday morning, Penn State's Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand announced to nearly 20K followers that he decided to drop a prospect due to social media related behavior:
Dropped another prospect this AM due to his social media presence...Actually glad I got to see the 'real' person before we offered him.
Coach Hand is one of the more outspoken coaches when it comes to character assessment and monitoring public profiles of recruits. He even sent several tweets after expanding on Penn State's philosophy behind evaluating the public persona's of their recruits. And although the decision was mostly met by applause from Nittany Nation, some still dissent that some slack needs to be given to teenage boys who could use guidance from a program, not rejection.
When asked by 247Sports what exactly constituted as an offense, he simply replied:
“If a guy makes the decision to post or RT stuff that degrades women, references drug use or cyber-bullying crap, then I can make the decision to drop them,” Hand said. “Especially if I have discussed it with them prior, and especially in today's climate of athletics.”
Additional criticism of Hand's public comments stated that Hand did not have to be so outspoken, thereby hurting the recruit's reputation before he even steps on a college campus. And although he did not mention the recruit by name, coaches may get word through the grapevine who it might be.
It's a fine line asking players to be themselves, especially when they come from various backgrounds. As 247Sports notes, behavior on social media may very well be indicative of future behavior and detriment to team culture. However, it may also discredit a player who may also turn out to be a mature leader with a little bit of guidance as was cited with the case of a Yuri Wright who is now entering his sophomore season with Colorado after being dropped by several BCS schools after an incident on social media.