Too often, teen athletes ruin their future by what they post on social media

Even blue-chip athletes can lose their scholarships due to online personas.

April 25, 2019


We’d all like to think we have more than one shot at our dream, that if we make one tiny (or huge) mistake it will not haunt us the rest of our lives. Once an athlete signs a formal contract with a college, most would assume it’s completely binding. However, that is not the case. A single wrong move on social media and the athlete’s scholarship could be eliminated and their previously pristine future, absolutely unknown.

A local Desert Vista student had her scholarship to play college soccer at NAU revoked after a racist snapchat picture with friends. Shedrick McCall, star running back, lost a Division I scholarship due to a vulgar youtube video. Other instances of social media causing colleges to lose interest in athletes are widespread across the entire nation; for young teenagers it can be extremely frightening that one picture, one post at the wrong place and time could change the course of their entire future.

The Desert Vista n-word incident was the most publicized, local incident to ever occur regarding the life-altering effects of poor, not to mention racist, actions on social media. Seniors were gathered to take a panoramic picture, each student wearing a letter, acting as human scrabble. One student decided to organize a group, some unknowingly, to spell out the n-word and snap a picture to send to her boyfriend. The picture sparked outrage and serious consequences for the students involved, some athletes.

“One of them decided to stay home and go to Arizona State when she had a scholarship to a school in Colorado and the other went on to study at Northern Arizona but did not play soccer and has not competed since the incident,” informed Barb Chura, 10-time state champion girls’ soccer coach at Xavier College Prep.

Although it may seem bleak for kids trying to grow up and learn from mistakes while earning a college scholarship, there are ways they can safeguard their future. Stack, a resource for athletes of all ages looking to better themselves, recommends, “Do not exhibit negligent behavior. This means think before you post. Put thought into the picture you’re painting of yourself online. It may be seen by people who’ve never met you and who have nothing more to go off of than your social media. If two kids are in a dead heat for a scholarship offer, that could be a deciding factor.”

Social media may appear like a trap, and there is no doubt that it can be. However, many platforms can be used as tools. “I think it can be useful to post encouragement and positive things that occur on the team. It can be really useful to post accomplishments or highlights,” continues Chura.

With the snap of fingers, everything could change for a high school athlete. Everything that they thought was sure, gone in an instant. Not a single athlete is above this social media revolution.

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