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Student Athlete Loses Scholarship Due to Social Media Posts

Another student athlete loses her scholarship due to social media posts! Unfortunately, this is not likely the last time I will be sharing news about this issue. The NCAA has recently ruled that college coaches may “click, not comment” on social media posts by prospective student athletes. This means coaches can friend “PSA’s”, like, and even share their posts. The new rule is having a dramatic effect on college recruiting!

It’s important you are educated on the impact social media can have on your future. The use of profanity, images of you with alcohol, bullying, wearing skimpy clothing are all examples of how it may cost you a scholarship. It’s not just the scholarship you should be concerned with either. College admissions offices and employers are also going to be using social media to better understand what kind of candidate you are.

The purpose of sharing this with you is not to scare you. I would encourage you to spend some time reviewing all of your accounts to ensure they are clean. It’s fine for you to have silly images of yourself but be sure there is no profanity. As a reminder, college coaches are looking for positive role models for their program. Your image is going to be plastered throughout the institution, on the media guides, their social media etc.

Social media is not all bad. It can actually be used as a recruiting tool to gain exposure.  I would highly recommend putting together short video clips that can shared on your Instagram and Snapchat accounts. I’d even suggest creating a Facebook profile or fan page. This is a great place to check in at tournaments, share articles, video and pictures. Although most of your peers are not using Facebook, the college coaches who are recruiting you are definitely using it.

A great recruiting tip is to follow all of the college programs that interest you. The coaches post awesome clips of their athletes in practices, matches, traveling, and site seeing. It’s really fun to follow and it’s easier to stay up to date when you are sending updates. You can take the time to personalize your emails to them to reflect their record or upcoming matches. You will also get a better feel for what the next level is really like and if it’s for you.

Have a question about the college recruiting process? Feel free to drop me a message at [email protected], call 714-323-8088 or use the hashtag #AskKaraHill on Facebook or Twitter.

March 7, 2017

In the last 48 hours, my blog post has gone viral. I am humbled and grateful you are here reading this story. Many people have requested more information about what the athlete had posted on her account to result in losing a scholarship. She was in multiple images where alcohol was in the background, and many of her friends used profanity throughout her account. While this may not be something that is offensive to everyone, the reality is she lost her scholarship because the coach didn’t feel she would be a good representative of the institution.

I work with female athletes and I specialize in girls volleyball. Many emails and comments have come to my attention drawing comparisons about how boys and girls are treated differently. My passion is educating young women how to navigate successfully through the recruiting process. I love being a support to my clients. I am not here to pass judgement on the decisions college coaches make when it comes to their program. It’s important for you to understand that the college coaches livelihood is on the line. While you may not agree, they are entitled to make the decisions they feel are in the best interest of the program.

Please forgive any grammatical errors.


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Comments (40)

Wait, so wearing skimpy clothing is on par with offenses such as bullying and underage drinking? Yeah, because a short skirt is right up there with making somebody’s life miserable and illegal activities. Wow. Sexist and misogynistic.

It never mentioned females or short skirts. You jumped there. Wow. Sexist and over-sensitive.

It would be helpful to parents if you took the time to describe what exactly this student posted — that would provide some much-needed frame of reference for both parents and kids to determine what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

The posts contained profanity and the athlete attending parties where alcohol was involved.

So…I’d like to make absolute certain that we are talking about a female right. So, skimpy outfits, alcohol and bullying, this would cause a male student to lose his scholarship, or a chuckle and “boys will be boys”, shrug. Hmmm

Not so my children’s experiences.

Some pretty basic info missing here! Like, what school and what was the content that was found to be disqualifying. Without a bit more, this is a “she said” story.

Martin, I am not interested in blasting a coach or a program for the decisions they make regarding the athletes they bring into the program. His livelihood is on the line. It’s not for me to judge. I shared the information that I felt athletes should be aware of who are going through the recruiting process.

His livelihood is on the line? Much like the student’s future plans and goals were on the line when she lost the scholarship? Articles like this are not helpful unless they have specifics. You don’t even need to identify the coach (although I am of the opinion that the coach should be identified, if s/he is retracting scholarships for things unrelated to academic and athletic performance, which is highly unprofessional. And evidently he thought it was for him to judge, so I’m not sure why he deserves better treatment than he is giving these athletes). But if you want to share helpful information, the information needs to be more specific, not these vague generalities that you shared above.

You’re not interested in blasting a school or coach but you’ll plaster the student-athlete’s face at the top of your column? Sounds like a double-standard.

Rodney that is a photo of me, not my student athlete. Many of my images are throughout the site because it’s my brand.

A. You’re beautiful.

B. I shared your post with my twin 11 year old volleyball players who found the info to be positive and helpful. 🙂

C. I think your post was a very nice reminder for young people (and adults) to be mindful of how they are representing themselves. Your message was written with good intent and was respectful of all parties. Job well done!

D. Don’t let the haters shake you. There will always be people that just want to strike out. The dark just wants drown out the light…but you, dear, need to keep shining bright!!!

Thank you for the kind words Wendy. I am passionate about educating my girls and ensuring they are on track for success!

Wearing skimpy clothing…really? I am sure a football scholarship prospect wearing a speedo would have no repercussions for his actions.

So why exactly DID she lose her scholarship?

So what exactly DID she post on social media?

I’m always telling my kids about not putting inappropriate stuff out. Not just athletes have to worry about this. Even things like corporate or government jobs, also view social media accounts. I’ve seen kids posting there selfs with drugs and guns. We’re are the parents?!?

I feel like unless your are submitting your profile as your resume, it should be on the employer ir potential employer to not discriminate against you.

Understood, and not every coach would remove you for your social media presence. It’s just something that can and has happened.

What if an athlete is tagged in a post that is inappropriate? U have fake fb pages and u can get hacked. This gets messy if u ask me!!!

It’s unfortunate that someone can tag you or create fake social media profiles. Most college coaches would hear you out before crossing you off the list.

Kimberly Kelley Whigham

Best advice I ever received – my coach told us that we would always be measured as if we were seated in the Catholic Church pew – don’t say it- write it or repeat it! And I did not and it served me well!
You are measured be the company you keep always remember that!:)

I would suggest you proofread your writing before hitting send.

Thanks for the advice John. I know my grammar drives people crazy, but it’s me. I just write as it comes to me and I don’t go back to revise.

Yeahhhhhh…. If a college dings my kid for a Facebook post ill sue for breach of contract. We’re cutting the check- the college conducts (largely meaningless) classes.

Threatening to sue the college is exactly why these kids have such horrid behavior. They are never made to have repercussions for their actions. Own what you do, but when it isn’t deemed right or proper be ready to pay the price.

Hahaha. You should probably brush up on what breach of contract means.

I have a former student who is in med school. He simply changed his name on all social media so it is very difficult for anyone to find him. He’s one of the most hardworking and inoffensive people I know but anything can be taken out of context. Change your name and be ultra conservative so people can’t unfairly judge you. I hate how colleges and employers misuse social media. It rewards people who are dishonest and project a facade and punishes those who live an open and honest life.

I coach 13U girls. I tell them all the time about this subject. I’ve been to several college coaching clinics and almost every college coach told us that’s the first thing they look at in recruiting is social media. Some even look at the parents social media also.
I don’t blame them. It would be their school represented every time you post something.

News reporters have a right to not disclose about someone who violates scholarship guidelines. I’m with what NCAA regulations against achohol

How does a coach friend or click without commenting?

Depending on the account, there are various ways to “click, not comment.” On Instagram, you can click on the heart. On Facebook, you can click the “like” button. On Snapchat, you can view it. A college coach is not permitted to make any comments.

Isn’t it eye opening about one who seems to have know all the dirty or spicey details about another’s mistake. Folks why not just say “thank you for reality information and adjust your lifestyles to reflect integrity so that one does not have to worry about such rejections. As to parents, perhaps you should just be teaching your young ones to clean moral straight up lives. That will probably take care of most of such issues. Thank you Kara

I have just updated the article to reflect the questions that have been pouring in via email and in the comment section of the article. Thank you for the kind words and support.

I’m a former scholarship athlete and still affiliated with a college program. Athletes can be punished up to loss of scholarship, kicked off the team, or kicked out of school for what they post. That includes athletes under the age of 21 posting pictures of drinking, with a bong or marijuana, or other things deemed to reflect badly on the university. Once they are a university athlete they are considered a spokesman for the university. So it stands to reason that high school athletes could be disqualified for the same behavior.

Most comments seem more directed to the author than the message. With all of the media coverage on problem causing athletes,expect colleges to be more selective in their choices. You may not like it or agree with it. But when bad press costs a playoff or championship,you can expect tighter qualifications. Morals is always a good idea.

The people that have a problem with this article, and will sue the school and want to know exactly what she posted or was photographed doing are the one’s whose kids loose their scholarships because they are always looking for the loopholes. This is great information from some one who is in the mix with athletes every day; not some one who is cutting checks for Biff to take meaningless classes.
This is a warning shot across the bow for any HS or college athlete on social media. I’ve been involved in pro, college and high school sports for 35 years. Something I heard years ago that I’ve passed on to athletes for years is to always remember; the ” Idiot Rule ” is always in affect. What is the Idiot Rule?, don’t be an idiot.

“The use of profanity, images of you with alcohol, bullying, wearing skimpy clothing”… a retiree senior citizen who had four wonderful years as an NCAA student-athlete-stallion….Those were the bad girls that I enjoyed going out with the most!!!

I remember when I was visiting colleges with my daughters. When they indicated interest in a college, my very first thought was always “how is this school represented by its women’s volleyball team?” I mean – forget about the teachers and facilities! I want to know if my kids will be on a campus with women’s volleyball players that have been in photos with alcohol. Schools like that should be removed from the US News & World Report college rankings!

Hold on… wait… after thinking about it a bit more, maybe what I mean is “who cares what these young adults do in their free time?” And maybe something like “how stupid are the coaches that they think penalizing the applicants who are most open and honest on their social media profiles makes sense?”

Same goes to all the protestors that are on the streets worldwide making sure that they hear their voices, think again for that especially for the college students once you are protesting the people who would like to hired you for your big job opportunity in the future they will look at your resume and they will not hired you cause you protested in the past and no one want a trouble maker!!

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