Cornerstone College Athletics Survey Reveals Overwhelming Majority of Coaches, Recruiters Track Athletes' Social Media Activity

Study Reveals Ways Coaches and Athletic Recruiters Use Social Media Information, How It Impacts Recruitment Decisions and Ways to Improve Digital Footprint

SOMERVILLE, MA--(Marketwired - Aug 19, 2015) - Cornerstone Reputation, an educational company committed to helping students manage their digital footprints, today released findings from its first annual Cornerstone College Athletics Survey, which revealed that 83 percent of coaches and athletic recruiters have performed online searches of athletes during the 2013-2014 recruitment season, and 17 percent of college coaching staffs have rescinded an offer to an athlete because of content they found online or through social media. The first-of-its-kind survey polled more than 600 coaches at more than 300 Division I, II, and III colleges and universities across the country.

While coaches and athletic recruiters have been using social media sites to review a recruit's athletic statistics and achievements, results of this new study affirm that they are beginning to use social media as a way to determine a recruit's overall personal character. The study reveals that 79 percent of coaches indicated that they believe an athletic recruit could gain an advantage over another recruit by having a strong and positive online presence, and 97% indicated that they believe that a negative online presence could harm a recruit's prospects.

"Results of our new College Athletics Survey quite clearly confirm the overwhelming use of social media and the fact that coaches believe that they can be influenced either positively or negatively in the athletic recruitment process by a recruit's online content. They are evaluating not only the recruit's statistics or video footage, but also the character and personality of recruits to see if they are a good fit for the program," said Carolynn Crabtree, cofounder of Cornerstone Reputation.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • The most popular social media platforms on which student athletes are searched are Facebook (88 percent), Twitter (82 percent), and Instagram (54 percent)

  • 78 percent of the coaches said that they believe they get a better sense of a recruit's character and personality by researching him or her online

  • 99 percent of respondents said that evaluation of the recruit's character was either very important or important when deciding whether to pursue the recruit

  • 86 percent of respondents have seen something online that has given them a positive impression of an athletic recruit

  • 80 percent of respondents have seen something online that has given them a negative impression of an athletic recruit

"I am surprised by just how compelling these survey results are," said Claire Sheldon, founder of Prospective Student-Athlete College Counseling. "As a former coach, I had a sense of how other coaches use the Internet but I had no idea how much other coaches, at a variety of different schools, rely on it to find information about prospects. For well-qualified prospects, creating a positive online presence and reputation could absolutely help during the recruiting process."

According to survey results, 39 percent of the coaches said the most important character trait of a recruit is self-motivation, following close behind with 25 percent who said maturity. Other popular answers included work ethic and passion.

"At Cornerstone, our goal is to use the time individuals already spend online to create a positive online presence that will serve as an aid to them in many different ways, from landing a job to being recruited as an athlete to their dream school," added Crabtree.

Some of the key steps students can take to improve their recruitment chances, include:

  • Think conscientiously and strategically about the personal content you are making public-facing on your social media versus the content you're only showing friends.

  • Change all of your social media settings so that every post you make appears only to you. After you've posted, think about if you want to make that post available to a greater audience.

  • Start and cultivate a LinkedIn page where you can routinely add new experiences and skills you develop during your student and summer experiences.

In addition to the 2015 College Athletics Survey report, Cornerstone Reputation conducts an annual Undergraduate Admissions Survey, which takes the pulse of admissions officers at the top national universities and liberal arts colleges across the United States, to provide insights into their use of social media as a college acceptance assessment tool.

About Cornerstone Reputation
Cornerstone Reputation is an educational company committed to empowering students through tools and knowledge that help them understand the impact of their online presence to ensure the time they spend online contributes to a positive reputation in today's digitally interconnected world.

The company's flagship product, the Comprehensive Online Readiness Assessment (CORA™) Admissions Score, is used by students around the world to easily and inexpensively quantify the probable effect of an online presence on various application processes.

To view the full 2015 Cornerstone College Athletics Survey Report: