Schools have fun with social media craze
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My all-time favorite Bob Huggins quote centered on the social media outlet called Myspace.
"Myspace," said the WVU basketball coach, "is where you shouldn't be."
Of course, one rarely hears of Myspace these days. Even Facebook is becoming old school. Social media is like Huggins' basketball roster these days - in need of daily updates.
There are social media tools like Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr ... you name it. Still, the king these days remains Twitter. You can follow me. You can follow the Gazette. You can follow Katy Perry. And within the sports world, coaches and recruits can follow each other.
Fans, of course, have been following both coaches and recruits for a while. Finally, though, coaches are allowed to have a little fun with the interactions. So they are announcing commitments with a bit of flair.
They still cannot mention the names of the committed recruits. That's against communist, er, NCAA rules.
According to SI.com's Andy Staples, however, Miami football recruiting coordinator Brannon Carroll posted the hashtag #WelcomeToTheU seven times last weekend to signal a new verbal commitment.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin signals one by tweeting "YESSIR!" Ole Miss and Kentucky coaches go with "Yahtzee!" And Nebraska and Texas go with "Boooooom!"
Which gets the wheels turning on what WVU and Marshall can use, eh?
WVU could simply use a link to an air raid siren. Or they can use any of these, free of charge:
"Hey St. Louis Rams, another receiver!"
"News you can't sue us for!"
"Don't tell Rex Ryan, but ..."
Or, my favorite ...
"The WV is a-flyin!"
Marshall can simply go with the obvious: "Thunder has struck!" Or they can pluck one of these, again free of charge:
"The Herd is not a-thinning!"
"Hickory dickory Doc!"
Or, my favorite ...
"Another request for No. 88!"
Either school can use my overall fave: "Jesco's dancing!"
Tennessee's Butch Jones (a former WVU assistant) is letting Vols fans know of new commitments by tweeting a picture of a new brick added to a wall of them. Louisville's Charlie Strong apparently listened to Tony Caridi and tweeted it's a "Great day to be a member of #CardNation! The future of our program continues to get brighter!"
Feel free to send in your (hopefully fun, witty) suggestions here. The point, though, is coaches are well aware of the Twitter popularity - and using that knowledge.
"We started getting on Twitter last year and really picked it up this year," said Marshall recruiting coordinator Todd Hartley. "You can only say so much, but we're getting a lot of information."
So too are the recruits.
"If a kid is on campus we can cryptically tweet messages," Hartley said. "Kids love knowing we care."
MU doesn't have a word or phrase yet to signal a commitment.
"Not really," Hartley said. "One commitment, though, played off the train angle and went with #getonorgetrunover. We rolled with it."
The Herd, by the way, has eight commitments for 2014 so far.
"That's phenomenal for us," Hartley said. "We had one or two last year at this time. We've put a lot of time and effort into this class. We really specialized our efforts. It's paying off."
Hartley said the current NCAA rules forbid coaches from messaging recruits in a public forum, like on the school Facebook wall. They can only direct message via Facebook or Twitter.
My belief is the NCAA should allow schools to go ahead and release the names of commitments. Word gets out in seconds anyway. A commitment isn't binding. Kids can still change their minds.
Besides, the NCAA has no chance whatsoever to keep up with the social media craze. By the time the new rulebook is printed, another way to communicate has been created.
Can't text? Coaches can go to Snapchat. And next month another way to communicate will surface.
It's just the way it is.
These days, my space - and yours - is everyone's.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.