Throughout this blog’s lifetime, I’ve attempted to hammer home the concept that student-athletes should tread responsibly on social-media sites. On Wednesday, one prospective Pennsylvania State University recruit learned that lesson the hard way.
Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand tweeted Wednesday morning that he had stopped pursuing one unnamed recruit because of his activity on social media:
Dropped another prospect this AM due to his social media presence...Actually glad I got to see the ‘real’ person before we offered him.
-- Herb Hand (@CoachHand) July 30, 2014
Later, Hand expounded upon his tweet in an interview with 247Sports.com’s Kipp Adams.
“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 told Adams. “Especially if I have discussed it with them prior, and especially in today’s climate of athletics.”
This unnamed player isn’t the first to have faced consequences from his social-media activity. Back in January 2012, Yuri Wright, a highly ranked cornerback for Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) High School’s football team, was expelled from the school for vulgar content on his Twitter account.
“He was expelled from the school for the things he had written on Twitter,” Wright’s former coach, Greg Toal, told ESPNNewYork.com. “It was pretty simple really, what he wrote were some graphic sex things. This is a Catholic school, things like that cannot happen. It was totally inappropriate.”
Wright lost scholarship offers from the University of Michigan, his “dream school,” and the University of Notre Dame, before committing to the University of Colorado.
In May 2012, five students at Gloucester (Mass.) High School, including two-student athletes, were banned from participating in athletic or other extracurricular activities as a result of racially derogatory messages they sent on Twitter. Earlier this year, a New Hampshire high school basketball player had his Player of the Year award stripped after telling an opposing team to “f--- yourself” on Twitter.
Greg Pickel of Scout.com noted that Hand’s stance isn’t all that uncommon:
I’m blown away this morning’s Herb Hand tweet about dropping a player because of social media is such a big deal. Happens daily.
-- Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) July 30, 2014
And thus, it bears repeating: Student-athletes, don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your parents or grandparents reading. After all, your prospective college coaches are likely watching, too.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.