I did a Social Media survey a few weeks ago, and have been receiving a bunch of emails from coaches nationwide sharing their stories, their media policies, etc. etc. I thought that I would share one of the stories that I received about how a coach in Florida illegally recruited players via Social Media sites.
One part of me is a little surprised by this, and one part of me isn’t surprised at all. Some grown men will go to any means to win. That’s the sad thing. It has never crossed my mine to reach out to a kid on Social Media in hopes of recruiting him to my program. I just don’t understand why a grown man would recruit kids by way of connecting them directly via Social Media.
So, here you have it. I have only edited out the names of schools, coaches and student-athletes. I haven’t edited the rest of the email at all. It is in first hand account from the coach who sent this to me.
“One of my 8th grade players, he’s really going to be our stud but he’s about 5’7 145 and runs a 5.4 40, was being recruited by a school called (REMOVED) that’s a whopping 5 minutes down the road. (REMOVED) has won 5 of the last 7 boys basketball state championships and already has a former (my school) star of ours! In football, 1/2 of their team was ineligible their first season for following the coach. Following the coach is a rule in our State’s Association that says a coach can’t leave a school and have a player show up there, and vice versa, in the same season or the player is ineligible and the coach is fined. Now, this was a stickier situation because it was believed the coach’s old school was closing (they did lose 11 man football) and he got his players to jump ship with him, but he knew the rule and thought he was above it.
Now that old coach’s former player and protégée is running the football program and has hired former players of his to be assistant coaches. So the spirit ingrained there in my opinion is cheat to win because it’s what they’ve been doing together for 10 years.
On a random day in the weight room one of my players stopped an assistant coach and said “Coach, I have to tell you something, a coach from (REMOVED) is blowing up my phone.” While his dad had made him delete the phone calls because he was worried his son would be ruled ineligible for this (I love the parents that are good people, even if confused) his dad didn’t know about Instagram and the kid screenshot the message to me.
While it’s not exactly damning, it raises an eyebrow since I know about the phone calls. Why is an adult coach instagram friends with an opposing school’s player, and in that light, why ask him a question only the school’s admin should answer?
So I emailed their principal, AD, and head coach and CCed my AD and principal and let them know it was unacceptable to call, social media to, e-mail… whatever, one of my players about anything- period. That Monday another player came to me and told me that what happened to player A also happened to him, but this time on Facebook, and it was more than just “are you guys going to have a team” it was asking what grade he was in.
We then asked for a meeting with their AD and Head Coach (instead got the AD and the youth minister). Now, I had only e-mailed the instagram pictures because why give away all your cards right? So I let them go on defending a “20 year old kid” “eager” “made a mistake” “he says this is the only thing he sent” and then I said “well, that’s nice but what about this” and showed them the Facebook post.
They were floored and went from being aggressive and accusing us of cheating too (our basketball team won 6 games, football 5, baseball 9… if we cheat we SUCK at it) to realizing that either a) I had more than they thought or b) their assistant coach did more than he told them. I’m not sure which it was (I’m inclined to believe A) but the tables turned and they calmed their lies down and started asking what they could do to keep us from reporting them.
Oh, before I showed them the Facebook post the minister also said it wasn’t against State Association laws so why am I so upset. I said “wait, that’s your whole job, you’re a minister, everything you tell your congregation NOT to do isn’t illegal, for instance adultery, so does that mean it’s not immoral or unethical?” and I shut him up. It felt nice.”