Share “Bad behavior on social media can cost...”

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 11, 2014 at 6:58 am •  Published: August 11, 2014
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NCAA rules regarding contact between recruits and football coaches have become more restrictive in recent years. Coaches can't text recruits and opportunities to meet face-to-face have decreased. As social media has become more ubiquitous, it has helped coaches fill the information gap in recruiting.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said social media is now part of his standard checklist for recruits.

"He's got to have a GPA that I can relate to, an ACT or SAT score or a pre-ACT score, and the third box is for social media," Bielema.

"I distinctly remember a player last year who signed, was a big-time kid, had an interest in us, and his Twitter handle was something that I can't repeat in here. I just kind of said, what are we doing here? This is about as obvious as it gets about what kind of thing we're dealing with here, so we backed out altogether."

Hand said he tries to educate high school coaches who might be behind the curve in online communication. And he often tries to educate players he's recruiting about how to avoid social media missteps.

"If you talk to a guy and he doesn't adjust things, that's another red flag for you," he said. "If they're not going to take coaching on this, what are they going to do on third-and-short when you need them to make a block and they kind of do their own deal?"

Bruce Rollinson, who is starting his 26th season as coach of southern California powerhouse Mater Dei High School, said he added the social media talk to his routine about three years ago, borrowing some of the dos and don'ts USC gives its athletes.

"Don't harass anybody," Rollinson said, focusing mostly on the don'ts. "Don't bring up race, religion, sexual orientation and physical conditions."

South Carolina freshman defensive back Chris Lammons said he got the message in high school and cleaned up his Twitter act, despite what his friends were doing.

"In the transition from being a little kid to a man, that's the thing you have to do, because when you're growing up, you probably want to get a big time job somewhere and they look back at your Twitter account and they see the things you're putting out," Lammons said.

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AP sports writers Kurt Voigt in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Joedy McCreary in Durham, North Carolina; and Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.