Sunday, February 26, 2012

Social Media Changing College Recruiting Forever

National letter of intent signing day never used to be one of the most treasured days on the sports calendar. For the most intense college football fans, the day used to mean little more than a few preview articles in the newspaper and wrap up of the recruiting class with little fanfare. Things have changed immensely though, and it does not seem as if there is any going back.

Today, national signing day is almost like a holiday for football geeks. A day when grown men can gather around computers to celebrate 18-year-old boys choosing where they will play a game they still love, America’s game, football. Fans are no longer questioned about their fanatical following of recruiting updates. It is all just part of the college football landscape undoubtedly changing due to the rise of social media.
One of the best examples of this change is the constant updates through blogs, such as Black Shoe Diaries. Fans no longer have to wait until tomorrow’s paper or even a web article to be posted to find out who is signing where. For the instant gratification nuts in the room, social media is now being used to put all this information in the palm of your hand at a second’s notice. For instance, as soon the recruiting deadline passed, Black Shoe Diaries posted this article, which highlighted Penn State’s successes on a rocky recruiting day. 

The fact that information is accessible immediately is undoubtedly the driving force behind national signing day entering a whole new realm of hype and media personnel are not the only ones taking advantage of this hype. Coaches and players alike have turned to social media to assist in the recruiting process. Coaches find that they must join social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, to keep up with the competition. They also use social media to get a better understanding of who the players are and gauge off the field character.

Players are also using these mediums to get their name out there and boost their recruiting prospects. They can use Twitter direct messages and personal Facebook messages to contact coaches without any recruiting violations being imposed. This is a great way to get around all of the violations hype that has been flowing in the recent years.

Gone are the days when we would find out about the recruiting class from our favorite college next year on the field. Now, whether we like it or not, college recruiting has been changed by social media. The process will continue into the future, as well, as mediums change and new mediums form.


  1. I can remember the days in high school when athletes would sign their letters of intent to join whatever college athletic team they were going to join next year. It was always exciting seeing where my friends were going to go to take their talents to the next level.

    Even as a college student, I was getting the news from home about where the underclassmen were headed to college. It took a few days for my school's website to post the picture of the athletes headed to college, and there was always an article in the paper about the students as well.

    Now it seems as though the news spreads in an instant. I remember a few weeks back on Twitter reading about signing day. Pictures were posted in Facebook almost instantly with the kids in their future college of choice's sweatshirts signing away. Penn State fans were constantly tweeting/Facebooking about who was going to come to our school next year to play football.

    It's amazing how things can change in a year or two, and how social media has created more hype for these future athletes. It is my hope that this increase in publicity does not interfere with their main purpose: to play their sport, represent their school, and continue with their higher education.

  2. James if you haven't already I suggest that you check out my latest podcast and blog, I just did a post about social media being put into professional athlete's contracts. Some professional athletes that are spokes people for different brands have it in their contracts that they have to make a certain number of posts every month solely about the sponsoring brand.
    There was another article that I wrote about saying that social media such as twitter is giving athletes a little more leverage on their contracts. Not only is it a fast way for them to communicate if they are a free agent or where they would like to go and all those other things, but it is also being used to determine the off the field reputation of the player and if the franchise believes it would be worth bringing the player to their team.