By Keith Murray
Let the madness begin.
Selection Sunday was March 16th, and for all of us basketball junkies that means March Madness is underway–but the real “madness” made headlines a few weeks ago when the NCAA announced the use of Snapchat as a communication tool for recruiting.
This announcement shocked the college sports world because in 10 seconds or less, recruitment photos will be erased–which leads many to believe recruiting scandals are bound to occur.
Unless player screen grabs, they can’t. RT @mtdukes: Wait, wait, wait. How will NCAA police Snapchat messages to ensure compliance?
— Joe Ovies (@joeovies) February 11, 2014
Michelle Nason, Associate Head Coach for the Marquette University’s women’s basketball team, understands the reason behind this move. She mentions that it is the “way of the future” and that, no matter what medium, there will always be risks associated with recruiting. These days coaches struggle with communicating with players through the old, traditional ways (i.e. phone calls and emails), so Coach Nason adds that Snapchat can be a useful recruitment tool because it allows for “short, quick bursts of information” to be shared with potential players.
Some may say, “What can really happen in just 10 seconds?” but it is important to note Coach Nason’s point of risk is evident no matter what platform you’re using. Recently, Ohio State had to report itself to the NCAA for allowing a recruit to talk to Tim Tebow for only 8 seconds. Thinking back on it, those 10 seconds might seem like a lifetime.
Here are 3 implications of recruiting in 10 seconds or less:
1. The tech savvy survive.
Bleacher Report said it best: “This Snapchat news is just another reminder that if coaching staffs want to contend for the nation’s top young players, they better be well-versed in the newest technological trends.”
26% of 18-29 year olds are using Snapchat and incoming freshmen and transfer students fit right into this demo. So being tech savvy makes it much easier for college coaches to get in touch with these potential players.
2. Rules are more easily broken.
Sometimes your first choice isn’t the right choice–which makes transferring schools an easy way to fix your mistake. However, according to the NCAA website, coaches from another institution are not allowed to contact a player without permission:
“An athletics staff member or other representative of the institution’s athletics interests shall not make contact with the student-athlete of another NCAA or NAIA four-year collegiate institution, directly or indirectly, without first obtaining the written permission of the first institution’s athletics director (or an athletics administrator designated by the athletics director) to do so, regardless of who makes the initial contact.”
These rules are in place, but you know the saying: “rules are made to be broken.” And over the years they have been. In 10 seconds or less, it’s much easier for programs to recruit these star athletes illegally from their competition.
3. Recruiting at all costs could lead to a scandal.
Have you seen Blue Chips? It came out in 1994, and all you need to know about it is that a college coach was desperate to stay competitive and decided to break the rules in order to do so. He needed the players and did anything he could to get the young talent. Imagine the possibilities if social media was available then.
In 10 seconds or less, what wouldn’t some programs promise these kids?
It will be interesting to see how this will pan out. We will have to wait until August 1st to see which program becomes an early adopter of this new recruitment tool and to see which one is the first to become part of a NCAA scandal as quickly as it takes for these Snapchat photos to disappear: 10 seconds or less.
How big of a risk is recruitment via social platforms? Share your thoughts in the comments!