Coverage of the recruitment of high school athletes has exploded in the last decade as the advent of the Internet turned a once-obscure type of coverage into a multimillion-dollar industry. The demand for information about college football recruits has led to new ethical challenges for Web-based publications. This survey of sport media identifies some of the ethical challenges associated with such coverage and proposes a code of ethics for Web-based media outlets. Media covering high school recruiting can use these guidelines to gain and maintain credibility, to uphold a high level of ethics, and to avoid restrictions or rules mandated by an outside source in a specialized beat where high school students are the primary subjects.
The authors are with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, Athens, OH.