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How college football teams monitor recruits' Twitter accounts — and why it's hilarious

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An SMU coach revealed the way the team tracks their players' social media usage. It makes a lot of sense.

Wednesday morning, SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone tweeted an inside look at the college football recruiting process. He showed a document detailing how Mustang coaches tracked an unnamed commit's social media presence:

While it's no surprise that schools monitor the public online activity of players and recruits, it was pretty intriguing to see how it's done, and the level of organization and detail involved. This is only one document from one school pertaining to one recruit, but it wouldn't be surprising if monitoring like this was fairly widespread. There's good reason behind it, too.

Why it makes sense to monitor recruits' tweets

by Bud Elliott

With schools investing upwards of $500,000 in a player's development over a four-year period, it absolutely makes sense to try to find out as much as possible about a player, provided the research is done in an ethical fashion. NCAA recruiting rules currently limit in-person contact more than ever. Tweets are in the public domain and high school kids are shockingly candid on a public medium like Twitter, so this offers a good insight into the personality of a player. A college team can try to find out if the player fits into its culture.

Elite players will and should continue to have social media transgressions ignored, but schools have to be mindful of allowing too many problem kids in. Of course, it's important to remember that this is all relative. The vast majority of boys in high school act like idiots, so this really only makes a difference for the extreme outliers. In most cases, this would only be used as tiebreaker between two similarly talented players.

Why this is hilarious

by Rodger Sherman

It's still hilarious seeing the end result of that well-intentioned research: an in-depth breakdown detailing tweets. An adult person, presumably a paid one, has to spend time looking through the generally mundane ramblings of 17-year-old boys on the internet and turn them into PowerPoint presentations. Even if there is a perfectly good reason behind it, I cannot get over the fact that this job exists.

As an experiment, I have decided to formulate a similar breakdown of my colleague Jacob Price, who tweets under the handle @ohholybutt. Although the SMU document seems to feature several weeks' worth of tweets, the overwhelming volume of Jacob's tweets means I have decided to only chronicle his last 24 hours.

  • Updated through Sept. 17
  • Jacob frequently uses foul language, as well as inappropriate photoshops, gifs, and videos in his tweets.
  • Multiple tweets about Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, specifically the size/eating capabilities of his sons. Also retweeted several comments pertaining to original tweets about Huckabee/his sons.
  • Jacob tweeted about going to the gym, pointing out that although other gym users might be able to lift more weight than him, they probably had fewer Twitter followers.
  • Jacob tweeted his support for Jeb Bush smoking weed in high school, and appeared knowledgeable on marijuana-related terms such as "mids."
  • Jacob made fun of DJ Khaled, particularly his workout routine.
  • Jacob tweeted several comments about former President George W. Bush doing 9/11. Although he does not appear to believe Bush did 9/11, he genuinely enjoys joking about the concept of the ex-President committing the most heinous crime of the 21st century.
  • Jacob expressed his distaste for orange juice with pulp and crunchy peanut butter.

Based on this, we have decided to stop recruiting Jacob. Crunchy peanut butter is great.