College Sports Social Media Strategy > Communications + Branding = Recruits

By Gary Clarke, President and CTO of GotChaDigi

All major Division I Programs must connect and stay relevant to fans, recruits and players.  Premier programs recognize the most efficient and cost effective way to achieve these goals is via social media.    However, being inaccessible is only slightly more damaging to premier sports programs than being unresponsive on social media.

Since the NCAA has announced it will no longer regulate electronic communication between coaches and recruits as of Aug. 1 2016, the landscape of recruiting will change sufficiently.  Social media is the definitive preferred method of communication for today recruits.  As social media is their platform for communication in general, especially since they feel that phone calls, home visits and text message are more time consuming and intrusive to their day-to-day activities and family.  Social media messaging plus liking and re-tweeting are ego boosting and less intrusive ways of communicating and getting their attention.

We’ve already seen schools compete with one another as far as multi-million dollar facilities; social media will be the next place to be “better” than your competition.  It is critical that programs have dedicated resources to the support the social media curation within the program and from recruits in particular with the content creation, monitoring and responsiveness plans and services that these new rules require.

Social media curation and campaigns should  support the athletic program(s) by addressing the following:

  • UNIVERSITY IMAGE: Timely and appropriate response to comments on social media is the key to maintaining a program or coaches image.
  • SPORTS PROGRAM IMAGE: Providing salient insights through social media will help re-build and promote a programs brand worldwide.
  • AUGMENT RECRUITING EFFORTS: Positive messaging and careful promotion of a program will facilitate recruiting of future players and high quality students who want to attending a university with top sports programs.
  • TRANSPARENCY: Social media provides a clear view of what goes on in a high-level athletic program.
  • INTIMACY: Fans want to have an intimate connect to the coaches and team that only social media can provide.  Social media can give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process and team activities, with live-streaming options on Facebook, Periscope, Instagram or Vine.
  • INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE: Social media breaks down geographical barriers, as recruits and fans from all corners of the country and world have immediate and unfiltered access to the program.


The NCAA passed proposed rule changes on January 19 that took effect on August 1, 2016.

NCAA Proposal No. 2015-48

According to the NCAA, “Divisions I and II look at social networking less in terms of the technology being used and more in terms of its recruiting impact.”

As a Division I or II coach/institution, Sport Programs and Coaches can:

  • Market and promote its university/program by setting up social networking pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
  • Send messages to recruits through a “social networking program’s email function.” [This prevents coaches from posting on someone’s wall, but allows them to send a Facebook message.]

Coaches cannot use the school’s social networking pages to:

  • Feature photos of prospective student-athletes.
  • Contact individual prospects publicly. (No posting on player’s timelines!)
  • Discuss specific recruits on any wall, public forum or chat room.
  • Contact prospects when it is impermissible as per NCAA recruiting laws

Gary Clarke, Founder and CTO of GotchaDigi, has worked as an IT strategic executive and business analyst specialist and has evolved into a social media strategist and expert for numerous businesses. He is a passionate Social Media Marketing consultant, curator, and coach. He specializes in Social Media Marketing, Social Media Consulting, Social Media Curation/Management, Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, YouTube Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, Pinterest Marketing, Instagram , Email Marketing, Video Marketing, Direct Sales and Network Marketing Training, Relationship Building Strategies, Community engagement, Executive Communications, Keynote speaking, business strategy, online marketing to leverage social media.

This post was originally posted on the GotChaDigi Blog, which can be found here