Story by Harry Rowe | Staff Writer, Video by Noah Torr and Savannah Cooper | Broadcast Reporters
Technology advancement has moved at an exponential rate for the past few decades, and with that comes new changes in different fields. One aspect of technology and the way it has changed industries is the impact of social media on recruiting and how it’s changed the way student athletes interact with their coaches as well as the responsibility players have to not post anything destructive.
Jeff Hulme, the head football coach of Midway High School in Waco, explained that even though it’s something he is not too familiar with, social media is here to stay. He said he and the football coaches talk to the players at the beginning of the year to remind them that their online posts can have real life consequences. If a school sees something it doesn’t like from a player it’s recruiting, it could turn coaches away and make a character judgment about the athlete, possibly ruining their shot to go to their dream school.
“It’s just one of those things, where you try to impress upon these young people, once you put something out there, it’s there,” Hulme said. “It doesn’t matter if you delete it or not, it’s still out there somewhere. Someone’s got it, somebody took a screenshot of it, snapped it, whatever, and it can make you look really bad.”
Youtube has long been a tool used by student athletes to display highlight reels and get greater exposure, but it’s not the only platform that does so. Hudl, founded in 2006, is one of the most used platforms that allows student athletes to create highlight reels and display game footage to anyone with access to the internet.
Hudl has updated throughout the years as the internet grows, including things like the ability for athletes and users to follow other users and updating them with new footage when it is released. This instant access has provided a much easier system for having college coaches be able to discover an athlete they like.
Samantha Erger, assistant coach and recruiting director for Baylor volleyball, is in charge of building relationships with recruits. According to Erger, she may spend as much as an hour on the phone with a single recruit on any given night. Erger explained that before social media, it was harder for the athletes to know what they were getting into before they visited the campus. Now, it’s much different, she said.
“Nowadays, with social media, recruits are coming on campus with an idea of what they’re getting themselves into before they even step foot,” Erger said. “They’ve been able to see and to meet you before they even come in person because they’re seeing all the videos, they’re watching all the behind the scenes, they maybe have an idea of what our facilities look like, maybe an idea of what our home atmosphere is like, before they even get here.”
Recruiting high school athletes to play at the next level has many steps, and the advancement of technology and social media in particular has allowed student athletes to gain more exposure than ever. Not all exposure is good though, and student athletes of today know that what they post online isn’t going away anytime soon.