College scholarships, HS Code of Conduct, Legal Concerns

Another Top HS Prospect Gets Burned by the Internet…When are these kids going to learn?

For the past several years, we’ve been preaching on WFAN’s The Sports Edge that kids have to be EXTRA diligent when it comes to using social media.

Whether they’re posting comments or photos on their Facebook account, or sending text messages, or posting comments on Twitter, they have to be aware that once something is sent out — well, it’s sent out!

Law professor Doug Abrams has been at the forefront of this, warning many times on the radio show that kids just don’t seem to understand how radioactive their tweets and postings can be. And that these postings can quickly come back to burn them.

Here’s the latext example. By all accounts, senior defensive back Yuri Wright is one of the nation’s premier football prospects. He’s 6-2, 180, fast, and comes out of a top program at powerhouse Bergen Catholic HS in northern NJ. Yet stupidly, Wright recently sent out a series of tweets that contained both inappropriate sexual and racist comments.

Bergen Catholic moved quickly: they immediately expelled Wright from school. They just kicked him out. A senior, he now has to find a new HS in order to graduate. And right behind that, the Univ of Michigan, which had offered the kid a full scholarship, immediately rescinded their offer. Other colleges, such as Notre Dame and Rutgers, are waiting to decide what they want to do.

In any event, apparently the message is still not getting through. In short, it’s this: KIDS, UNDERSTAND THAT ANYTHING YOU POST ONLINE OR IN A TWEET OR AS A TEXT MESSAGE CAN BE READ BY ANYONE IN CYBERSPACE. Yes, you may intend something as a joke, but unfortunately humor doesn’t travel well in cyberspace.

In addition, if you’re lucky enough to be a recruited athlete, you HAVE TO KNOW that college coaches are constantly following your social media postings. Colleges these days DO NOT want to bring aboard a kid with a questionable personality. It exposes the college to all sorts of potential lawsuits if that athlete does something dumb in college, so coaches are extra vigilant these days in scouring the internet for incidents like thie one by Wright.

What’s the bottom line? When in doubt, don’t send it out. Think twice before anything is sent out. All that being said, these cases just seem to be multiplying. What a shame.