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'Thank you, God': Is God involved with sports results?
Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Sep. 18, 2015 4 years ago

Social media: A gift and a curse

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by: Jeff Dawsey Sports Editor

In less than one minute, I can take my cell phone, click on the app with the white bird in the blue square, or the white “f” in its blue square, or any of their relatives, key in a few words, hit send and immediately get fired, disqualified or make myself an outcast from thousands of organizations and entities worldwide. But, on the other hand, I can follow that same pattern and get promoted and become a beloved citizen, a respected man and a hard-working employee. Social media’s not the problem; our decisions are.

A few weeks ago, Matanzas football coach Robert Ripley retweeted a quote on Twitter from Derek Jones, a Duke University assistant football coach, which read, “The quickest way for a good player to get deleted from our recruiting board is to have bad material on social media.”

“The more information you put out, the more they can see about you, right, wrong or indifferent,” Ripley said. “The light is always on you, as you attempt to speak or move up in the ranks.”

According to the High School Athletics Participation Survey website, nearly 8 million students compete in high school sports annually. Hundreds of thousands of those, who are seniors, will graduate and seek sports careers, but what will separate one student athlete from another? Yes, grades and personal conduct records will play a vital role in a college choosing a student over another, but social content has become another key factor. Will coaches recruit athletes, who bash their high school coaches and teammates through Twitter after a disappointing loss?

Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski admitted that he created a secret social media account to follow his players. I’m pretty sure he also follows his potential recruits, and so do the thousands of other coaches who plan to offer free scholarships to student-athletes who they assume will properly represent their schools.

This past Friday, I tweeted about Mainland’s Nathaniel Anderson, who rallied his team to pray for an injured opponent. Imagine that news getting to a coach, along with a tweet about another football player, who only updates his social media accounts about a party life. Who do you think they’d be looking to recruit?

Follow Jeff Dawsey on Twitter @PCOsports.

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