A: Here are a few tips for dealing with the media…
– Understand that whatever you say may be printed! If you don’t want it going public, don’t say it to the reporter. If you are learning towards a certain school, if you want to play in a certain conference or for a certain team, if you don’t want to switch positions, if you want to stay close to home or go far away… whatever you tell the reporter about your decision factors will likely end up online and out there for everyone to read.
– Nothing is ever off-the-record. Even if the reporter says, “I won’t print this, but can I ask you about ______?” – Assume that they WILL print whatever you say—no matter if they say your conversation will be just between the two of you.
– They may deny it but most college coaches are reading up about their prospects and reading their interviews for clues. If you don’t want certain coaches who are recruiting you to know something, don’t say it.
– Understand that your tweets, Facebook status updates and social media moves are fair game to be quotes in even legitimate media, along with the hundreds of blogs and other social media accounts that are out there. Make your accounts private and only accept people you know. All those pretty girls requesting to friend or follow you, they’re likely reporters! Think about your status updates and posts, and know reporters have been known to throw some quotation marks around it and print it as if they talked to you directly.
– There is nothing wrong with saying, “I’m keeping my options open and looking into every opportunity. I’m just enjoying the process.”
– If you are feeling pressure about the recruiting process, feel like the attention/interviews are interfering with your school work or focus, feel like you are being pulled in too many directions—remember: YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO MEDIA INTERVIEWS!
These companies are making a lot of money plotting high school players every move but you are not required to do anything. And oftentimes, these rumors and stories can make the process much more stressful than it needs to be! You can keep your discussions, selection factors and decisions within your family, coaches and circle. While the publicity can be fun, it may turn overwhelming and be a major distraction.
– Questions they may ask you:
o What are your decision factors (close to home, academics, conference preference, etc)?
o Are you learning towards a certain school? What are your Top 3/Top 5 choices?
o Who has invited you for Official/Unofficial Visits? What schools will you visit? Who has invited you to Junior Day?
o Who has offered you a scholarship? (Never lie!)
– These sites are in business to make money and to drive traffic to their websites. They may write headlines to get clicks, make sure you are clear and honest with your offers, decision factors, visit plans.
– These sites likely rank players nationally and by state and position. Don’t pay attention to your rankings, they will change during the process and your ranking plays no role whether a coach will offer you or not. The only thing that matters to a coach is their evaluation of your play, not your internet blog rankings!
– Coaches may begin politicking for shoutouts and tell you, “Make sure you tell them you love the [mascot].” They want to show their bosses (head coaches) that they at least have a foot in the door with you. It’s up to you but it’s best to be honest with the coaches if you know you have zero interest in their school, but it’s always best to never limit yourself. Keep options open—it’s a long and ever-changing process!
– Be aware that if you are a top prospect and don’t want to speak with the media that the reporters may reach out to your coaches and/or parents. You may want to speak with them about not speaking with the media if you are trying to keep the process lowkey or private.
– It’s also a good reason to only accept friend and follow requests from your real friends if you feel pressure about the recruiting process. Not only will your family and friends begin to pressure you about choosing a certain school, but all those crazy fans will send you tweets, write on your walls, beg you to come to their school and stalk your posts. If it’s beginning to be too much for you delete your accounts or block/unfriend your followers you don’t actually know.