With Facebook “inboxing” replacing e-mail and tweets replacing texts, the social media craze has spread to college sports.
“E-mail is old school,” Pete Thamel of the New York Times tells Bill Littlefield, “Facebook and Twitter have become the main conduits that coaches use to reach out to kids.”
In 2007, the NCAA ruled that coaches were not allowed to send text messages to their recruits. The reason behind the ruling? The texting was getting to be too much of a financial burden on the high school athletes.
However, the texting ban no longer seems to be setting teams back. Thamel explains, “Since 2007 a lot has changed. Now Facebook and Twitter messages come to your phone in the exact same fashion that texts used to come.”
But not everyone is enthusiastic about the use of social media. “Some coaches say, I’ve been doing this since 1970-whatever, and I did it with hand written notes,” Thamel says.
Although some coaches may be opposed to the social media craze, Thamel acknowledges that even those who do not encourage it are being forced to keep up, sometimes by delegating social media recruiting to younger assistant coaches.
Thamel identifies the focus on Facebook and Twitter as a reflection on the recruits themselves, “Kids like the attention. It’s a constant attention, the constant buzzing of the phone-like an addiction, a craving…It used to be about getting a call from the head coach. Now it’s about getting the tweet.”
Pete Thamel’s writes about social media’s connection to college sports in his New York Times article, “Coachs’ New Friends.”