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Student-Athletes and Social Media

Ferris State UniversityBy Lexi Hongisto
News Services Marketing and Communications Assistant

Just like everything else, social media has its positives and negatives – especially for student-athletes. Social media is a great tool for personal branding or recruiting, but there are also many instances where student-athletes lose scholarships over something as simple as a tweet.

As a D2 college athlete, I know what it’s like to constantly have eyes on me whether it’s my coaching staff, other students or the young girls from back home that look up to me. Because of this, my coaching staff has very strict social media rules.

Here are a few dos and don’ts, from my personal experience, on how to navigate social media as a student-athlete.

Personal branding: Your accounts on all social media platforms are a compilation of a direct reflection of who you are. My coaches have openly admitted they weed out recruits based on what they post on social media so they don’t waste the program’s time or money on an athlete who could end up being a liability. Use social media as a tool to share with the world how great and funny you can be.

Give thanks and praise: As a student-athlete, you represent not only your program, but your school/university, as well. Show that you are grateful for your opportunity by praising your teammates and coaches, because without them, you wouldn’t be where you are, today. Don’t forget about your fans. Always give them a little shout-out for showing their support and make sure you respond to comments and posts to show you’re grateful for their commitment as well.

Watch the profanity: If you have to think to yourself, “I’m not sure if coach would like this,” that’s a sure sign you shouldn’t post it. You can still be funny without using inappropriate language or content. And remember, if you share it, you own it.

Trash talk: We get it, you’re competitive – that’s why you’re an athlete. There’s no reason to be bashing other teams or players on social media. It not only gives your program a bad name, but it also makes you look like a poor sport. Let your team’s performance, on the playing field, do the talking.

Prejudice: There’s no reason to mention race, religion, sexual orientation or physical conditions/disabilities when referring to someone. Newsflash: It’s 2018 – NO ONE CARES.

There’s no reason your future as an athlete should be left up to something as silly as a post on social media. Follow the tips I provided and you’ll never leave anything up to chance. As @Coach_Chris99 once tweeted, “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship!”

Lexi Hongisto is a student writer for News Services and Social Media in University Advancement and Marketing.