2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Sam Winemiller

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Recruiting Writers’ Perceptions of Ethical Responsibilities
Recruiting Writers’ Perceptions of Ethical Responsibilities
A substantial media industry has developed that focuses on covering high school student-athletes as they are recruited to play college sports. Online media outlets, such as Rivals and 247Sports, dedicate considerable resources to analyzing young athletes’ decision-making processes, particularly in the sport of American football. For example, some team-specific sites such as Warchant.com and HuskerOnline—both part of the Rivals network—employ a full-time staff of six people. Yanity and Edmondson (2011) highlighted several ethically troubling factors involved in the coverage of high school football recruiting, as identified by media members. Concerns of an ethical nature are particularly relevant in a context where the people being covered are minors involved in a potentially life-altering decision. Given this background, the current study involved interviews with 15 participants who worked as writers for online recruiting sites in order to investigate their perceptions of ethical and social responsibilities in their field. Commonly-expressed perceptions from these writers on the ethical concerns of their industry included the maintenance of neutrality and distance when covering an athlete’s recruitment. For many, this effort was complicated by the push and pull of different stakeholders, such as subscribers, the high school athletes themselves, and even college coaches.