Social media can be a great tool for interaction and gathering news. For athletes, however, it can also be an easy source of controversy if it's not being used in an appropriate manner.
According to Pennlive.com, Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand used social media—specifically Twitter—on Wednesday to alert his followers that he "dropped" a recruit because of his poor presence on the Internet:
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
Hand later expanded on his stance by noting that this wasn't a decision that came about lightly. He also commented on how players have to be held accountable for what they tweet or put on Facebook or other social media sites:
Kipp Adams of 247Sports wrote a piece about Hand's stance, including a quote from the coach that further elaborated on what happened with the prospect:
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. Especially if I have discussed it with them prior, and especially in today's climate of athletics.
Regardless of how highly regarded the player may or may not have been—since he's being recruited by Penn State, he's likely considered a coveted prospect—many will commend Hand for not moving forward with this recruit.
However, according to Greg Pickel of Scout.com, Hand's announcement doesn't warrant much attention because schools are constantly making decisions based on a recruit's social media presence:
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
Hand clearly felt strongly in his convictions about what the player, who was not named, was doing on social media, at least enough to make it public by announcing it on Twitter.
It's evident Hand has a clear standard that he wants young men and student-athletes to meet. This player failed that test, so he will have one fewer school from which to choose.
This is yet another example of the growing significance and impact social media can have on sports. As young athletes continue to mature and progress in their careers, they'll need to be especially mindful of how they present themselves to those who may be watching.
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