"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Mods please move if not diary worthy
Yesterday in Rescue_Dawn's Recruiting Map diary, someone commented that they hoped we wouldn't get to the point of having an interactive Google map for our recruiting... We just did.
I read the comment and thought it was a cool idea, so I got to work. Being fresh out of school and not really having much of a life outside of work, I had the spare time. I came up with a rough draft for the map yesterday, and today I have made some major updates to make the map a more powerful tool for tracking recruiting. Features for the map originally included:
- Interactive Google map with interest points at each recruit's location
I have revamped it to now be a community-supported tool. New features include:
- A list of links to recruits to help easier locate one particular recruit on the map
- Updated geocoding caches... Hopefully will make markers more accurate
- The ability for anyone to propose updates to existing recruit
- The ability for anyone to propose new recruits
- Email confirmation of approved changes or disapproved changes with reasoning
- List of recent contributors
- New additional info field for linking to articles, highlight videos, other info, etc.
Any changes proposed will be moderated by me. I will not be verifying the data in the proposed changes, per se, this is just really to avoid system abuse.
What I need from people here is to look at the map and test it out. There are a lot of aesthetic things that need to be changed (I got numerous ideas yesterday, thanks to everyone!), but I chose to focus more on functionality, and even then I am sure there is plenty out there that could still break (there is a lot of data-validation that needs to be done eventually). If you have any ideas that would make this more user friendly, or if you notice something break, let me know and I will get to fixing it!
I think with everyone's help it could turn into a pretty neat community recruiting tool.
To get started in adding info to recruits, click the Click to Contribute button in the upper-right (can be hard to see).
I hope everyone finds it useful and I look forward to getting some feedback!
Deep Under Cover
This weekend ended up being a huge deal for Michigan recruiting. Not only did they secure commitments from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia, but they got instate receiver Aaron Burbridge and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn to visit as well. Here's a look at what Dunn thought of his trip, what may be happening in the near future, and thoughts from a few other prospects.
6'2", 215 lbs.
While Dunn is still committed to Ohio State he has been public about his desire to visit Michigan for some time. The Michigan coaches impressed him when they offered him, and there has been some sort of interest ever since. The recent happenings with Ohio State and the NCAA have gotten the Dunn's attention, and they have said they will continue to monitor what happens in Columbus. I spoke with both Bri'onte and his father after the trip to Ann Arbor. Here's what his father had to say first.
[The visit] went pretty good. They showed us around, we went through the stadium, and basically went around the whole campus. We got a good welcome in there. The head coach, Brady Hoke, wasn't there but we were talking to the rest of the coaches.
They told him he fits in their offense and that they want a back his size. They need a running back. We went up here because he wanted to go to a few places to get the experience. It's just been all Ohio State, so he wanted to look around a little bit. You always have to have a backup plan, too. It was a good trip, though, and his cousin [2013 DB] Dymonte Thomas schooled him on it after he went up there. They've talked about going to school together too.
Both Bri'onte and his father didn't really want to let out too much about the visit or where he stands on either side. Here's the limited amount that Bri'onte was willing to say.
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Like I said, Bri'onte didn't want to put too much out there yet. He wasn't comfortable answering a few of my tougher questions about his situation. I think a lot of this will depend on what happens with the NCAA investigation. I also think that this is just the start of a courtship, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Either way, it's a positive for Michigan to get him on campus and put a face to a name with the coaches.
6'1", 178 lbs
Standifer had been told he was close to a Michigan offer a few weeks back. One of the Michigan coaches was out to see him in person this week, and Anthony was given an offer based on his performance. Things could start moving pretty rapidly for him now that the offer is official.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
He says he has very strong interest, but isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
I haven't been down there yet to see much, but I love the stadium and just the football atmosphere there. They told me that I'm a Michigan corner and that they want size, and to get down there ASAP.
I'm not saying it will for sure happen, but I believe there is a chance that Anthony could pull the trigger on his visit. He seemed excited but unsure of what he wanted to do. If the trip goes well don't be surprised if he makes the call on the spot. Before you ask, this wouldn't have any affect on the recruitment of any other defensive backs, including Terry Richardson.
6'3", 195 lbs.
Gilmore is a prospect that has been a little on the quiet side lately. He holds a Michigan offer as well as Arizona State, Duke, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Despite living in California Gilmore says he has serious interest in Michigan.
[Michigan] is definitely a school I'm interested in. I mean we don't really hear that much about them out here, so to learn more about the program and school would be great. I know they have a rich tradition and good academics, it's a huge program. They have been down for awhile, but the new head coach that they have I'm sure is going to turn it around.
Gilmore wasn't positive but he had thought that Brady Hoke offered him previously while at San Diego State. While GIlmore does like Michigan, it's still early in the process for him.
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
Gilmore holds a Michigan offer, but since he wants to take his time, I'm not sure how it will play out for him.
The commitment of Mario Ojemudia has increased Michigan's chances with his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. If they put the full court press on Burbridge they have a chance at landing him.
Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing this Thursday the 12th. He's down to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. His announcement will be public, so you'll know.
A lot of people were asking if the commitment from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia would have any affect on Chris Wormley or Matt Godin, and the answer is no. Brown and Ojemudia are weakside ends, and Michigan is recruiting Godin and Wormley for the strong side. They will take all four if they fall that way.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson was offered this week. I believe Michigan has a good chance with Johnson.
Arizona ATH DJ Foster was offered this week. He has interest in Michigan, but they will need to get him on campus before any serious interest could happen. Oregon is the likely early leader.
[Ed: Chatter on twitter is that MI CB Terry Richardson may be announcing soon; hopefully "Roll Tide Nation" is just a tweak directed at Ross and RJS. Also, the Rivals 100 is out. RJS is the only state of Michigan player in the top 100 at #87.]
The Wolverines are truly reeling them in now. Three new commits this week. To the front page again! Action since last rankings:
5-2-11 Michigan gains commitment from James Ross. Notre Dame gains commitment from Justin Ferguson. Wisconsin gains commitment from Bart Houston.
5-5-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Ian Park.
5-6-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Jordan Westerkamp.
5-7-11 Michigan gains commitments from Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown. Michigan State gains commitment from Evan Jones.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Rivals rankings come out this week. Full data after the jump.
[Ed-M: Bumped, obviously.]
**source: 2012 Offer List
Please let me know if there are any omissions a/o errors.
|Targets||Ht.||Wt.||40||Scout Rank||Rivals 250||Commit|
|Zeke Pike||6'5"||220||4.7||Dixie Heights HS, Edgewood, KY||5 Star||Yes||Auburn|
|Gunner Kiel||6'4"||220||East HS, Columbus, IN||5 Star||Yes|
|Bennie Coney||6'3"||203||4.8||Plant City HS, Plant City, FL||3 Star||Yes|
|Maty Mauk||6'2"||185||Kenton HS, Kenton, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|Connor Brewer||6'2"||195||4.7||Chapparal HS, Scottsdale, AZ||4 Star||Yes||Texas|
|Jake Rodrigues||6'3"||210||4.98||Whitney HS, Rocklin, CA||3 Star|
|Devin Fuller||6'0"||185||4.48||Old Tappan HS, Old Tappan, NJ||4 Star||Yes|
|Zach Kline||6'2"||192||5.18||San Ramon Valley HS, Danville, CA||4 Star||Yes||Cal|
|Matt Jones||6'2"||200||4.53||Armwood HS, Seffner, FL||4 Star||Yes||FL|
|Keith Marshall||5'11"||190||4.32||Millbrook HS, Raleigh, NC||5 Star||Yes|
|Bri'Onte Dunn||6'2"||215||4.59||GlenOak HS, Canton, OH||5 Star||Yes||Ohio St.|
|Ronald Darby||5'11"||172||4.37||Potomac HS, Oxon Hill, MD||4 Star||Yes||ND|
|Donovan Roberts||6'0||195||Norman HS, Norman, OK||3 Star||Ark|
|Demetrius Williams||5'10"||175||4.49||Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS, Bamberg, SC||3 Star|
|Greg Garmon||6'1"||190||4.4||McDowell SHS, Erie, PA||4 Star||Yes|
|Cyrus Jones||5'11"||183||4.49||Gilman School, Baltimore, MD||3 Star||Yes|
|Vonte Jackson||6'0"||175||4.53||Bradford HS, Kenosha, WI||3 Star||WIS|
|I'Tavius Mathers||6'0"||195||4.5||Blackman HS, Murfreesboro, TN||NR|
|Wes Brown||6'0"||190||4.57||Our Lady Of Good Counsel, Olney, MD||4 Star||Yes|
|Drew Harris||6'2"||195||4.47||Downingtown East HS, Exton, PA||4 Star|
|Jonathan Williams||5'11"||205||Allen HS, Allen, TX||4 Star||Yes||Mizzou|
|E.J. Fatu||5'10"||235||Klein Oak HS, Klein, TX||3 Star|
|Dominic Ramacher||6'3"||230||4.7||Guyer HS, Denton, TX||3 Star|
|Latroy Pittman||6'1"||190||4.7||North Marion HS, Citra, FL||3 Star||Yes||FL|
|Stefon Diggs||6’1"||189||4.4||Our Lady of Good Counsel, Olney, MD||5 Star||5 Star|
|Dorial Green-Beckham||6’6″||220||4.43||Hillcrest HS, Springfield, MO||5 Star||5 Star|
|Dwayne Stanford||6'5"||185||4.5||Taft HS, Cincinnatti, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|Aaron Burbridge||6'1"||175||4.4||Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, MI||4 Star|
|Derrick Woods||6'1"||180||4.5||Inglewood HS, Inglewood, CA||4 Star||Yes|
|Deontay McManus||6'2"||210||4.5||Dunbar HS, Baltimore, MD||3 Star||Yes|
|Malik Gilmore||6'3"||195||4.67||Lakewood HS, Lakewood, CA||3 Star|
|Jordan Payton||6'2"||199||4.49||Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA||4 Star||Yes||USC|
|Leonte Carroo||6’1"||205||4.4||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, NJ||5 Star||Yes|
|Avery Johnson||6'2"||180||4.44||Blanche Ely HS, Pompano Beach, FL||4 Star||Yes||LSU|
|Jody Fuller||6'0"||200||4.48||Sun Valley HS, Monroe, NC||3 Star||Yes|
|Jaquay Williams||6'2"||180||4.56||Sandy Creek HS, Tyrone, GA||4 Star||Yes|
|Amara Darboh||6'2"||190||4.42||Dowling HS, West Des Moines, IA||4 Star||Yes|
|Reginald Davis||6'1"||185||4.5||Tenaha HS, Tenaha, TX||4 Star||Yes||TTU|
|Darius Powe||6'2"||186||4.6||Lakewood HS, Lakewood, CA||3 Star||Yes|
|Dominique Wheeler||6'1"||176||4.4||Crockett HS, Crockett, TX||4 Star||Yes|
|Durron Neal||6'1"||195||4.57||DeSmet Jesuit HS, St. Louis, MO||4 Star||Yes|
|Sam Grant||6’6″||238||4.8||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, OH||3 Star|
|Sean Price||6'4"||206||4.86||North Marion HS, Citra, FL||3 Star|
|Devin Funchess||6'5"||205||Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, MI||4 Star||MICH|
|Ron Thompson||6'4"||210||4.6||Southfield HS, Southfield, MI||4 Star|
|Taylor McNamara||6'5"||235||Westview HS, San Diego, CA||4 Star||Yes|
|A.J. Williams||6’6″||260||4.9||Sycamore HS, Cincinnati, Ohio||3 Star||MICH|
|Evan Baylis||6'5"||225||4.8||Grandview HS, Aurora, CO||4 Star||OR|
|D.J. Humphries||6’5″||265||4.92||Mallard Creek HS, Charlotte, NC||5 Star||5 Star|
|Jordan Diamond||6’6″||289||5.89||Simeon Vocational HS, Chicago, IL||4 Star||Yes|
|Zach Banner||6'9||310||4.6||Lakes HS, Lakewood, WA||4 Star||Yes|
|Dan Voltz||6’5″||289||5.37||Barrington HS, Barrington, IL||4 Star||Yes||WIS|
|Andrus Peat||6’7″||280||Corona Del Sol HS, Tempe, AZ||5 Star||5 Star|
|Kyle Murphy||6’7″||275||5.1||San Clemente HS, San Clemente, CA||4 Star||Yes|
|Jordan Simmons||6’5″||333||4.9||Crespi HS, Encino, CA||5 Star||Yes|
|Taylor Decker||6’8″||270||5.0||Butler HS, Vandalia, OH||4 Star||ND|
|Mark Harrell||6’5″||260||Charlotte Catholic HS, Charlotte, NC||NR|
|John Theus||6’6″||292||5.2||The Bolles School, Jacksonville, FL||5 Star||5 Star|
|Avery Young||6’6″||273||4.9||Palm Beach Gardens HS, Palm Beach Gardens, FL||5 Star||Yes|
|Kyle Dodson||6’6″||315||Cleveland Heights HS, Cleveland, OH||4 Star|
|Paul Thurston||6’5″||274||5.0||Arvada West HS, Arvada, CO||4 Star||Yes|
|Tyler Orlosky||6'4"||290||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, OH||3 Star|
|Josh Garnett||6’5″||275||Puyallup HS, Puyallup, WA||5 Star|
|Brock Stadnik||6'5"||285||5.1||Western Guilford HS, Greensboro, NC||4 Star||Yes||S. Car|
|Kyle Kalis||6'5"||302||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, OH||5 Star||Yes||Ohio St|
|Shane Callahan||6'6"||277||5.2||Chaparral HS, Parker, CO||4 Star|
|Ryan Watson||6'3"||270||4.8||Our Lady of Good Counsel, Olney, MD||4 Star||Yes|
|Ty Darlington||6'3"||275||5.1||Apopka, HS, Apopka, FL||4 Star||Yes|
|Caleb Stacey||6'4"||275||Oak Hills HS, Cincinnati, OH||3 Star||MICH|
|Ben Braden||6'6"||285||Rockford HS, Rockford, Michigan||3 Star||MICH|
|Daniel Isidora||6'3"||330||5.41||Cypress Bay HS, Weston, FL||NR|
|Evan Boehm||6'3"||290||5.1||Lee's Summit West HS, Lee's Summit, MO||4 Star||Yes|
|John Michael McGee||6'4"||255||4.85||Texas HS, Texarkana, TX||4 Star||Yes|
|Jonah Pirsig||6'9"||300||Blue Earth Area SHS, Blue Earth, MN||4 Star||Yes|
|Kyle Marrs||6'6"||302||5.4||Brandeis HS, San Antonio, TX||3 Star||OK|
|Mike Madaras||6'6"||280||4.8||Our Lady Of Good Counsel, Olney, MD||4 Star||Yes||MD|
|Trey Keenan||6'5"||270||Argyle HS, Argyle, TX||3 Star|
|Erik Magnuson||6'6"||275||La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, CA||4 Star|
|J.J. Denman||6'7"||305||5.3||Pennsbury SHS, Fairless Hills, PA||4 Star||Yes|
|Michael Starts||6'4"||282||5.01||La Vega HS, Waco, TX||4 Star||Yes|
|Ellis McCarthy||6'5"||311||4.9||Monrovia HS, Monrovia, CA||4 Star||Yes|
|Max Tuerk||6'6"||281||Santa Margarita Catholic HS, Santa Margarita, CA||3 Star|
|Chris Muller||6'6"||287||5.03||Boyertown Area SHS, Boyertown, PA||3 Star||Yes|
|Patrick DeStefano||6'4"||275||5.1||Dorman HS, Roebuck, SC||4 Star|
|Chris Wormley||6’4″||255||Whitmer HS, Toledo, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|Ifeadi Odenigbo||6’4″||210||4.44||Centerville HS, Centerville, OH||4 Star|
|Pharaoh Brown||6’6″||220||4.7||Brush HS, Lyndhurst, OH||3 Star||MICH|
|Tom Strobel||6'6"||245||4.8||Mentor HS, Mentor, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|Mario Ojemudia||6'3"||215||4.65||Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, MI||4 Star||MICH|
|Se'Von Pittman||6’5″||245||4.65||McKinley HS, Canton, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|Adolphus Washington||6’4″||230||4.7||Taft HS, Cincinnatti, OH||5 Star||Yes|
|Jordan Jenkins||6'3"||245||4.67||Harris County HS, Hamilton, GA||4 Star||Yes|
|Mario Edwards||6’4″||275||4.8||Ryan HS, Denton, TX||5 Star||5 Star||FL St|
|Dalvin Tomlinson||6'3"||270||5.24||Henry County HS, McDonough, GA||3 Star||Yes|
|Brent Wilkerson||6'4"||245||4.9||DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, MD||3 Star||PSU|
|Devonte Fields||6'4"||220||Martin HS, Arlington, TX||4 Star||Yes||TCU|
|Darius Hamilton||6'4"||245||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, NJ||5 Star||5 Star|
|Greg McMullen||6'5"||255||Archbishop Hoban HS, Akron, OH||4 Star||Yes|
|James Deloach||6'3"||260||4.9||Jenkins County HS, Millen, GA||3 Star|
|Jarontay Jones||6'3"||245||4.8||Stephenson HS, Stone Mountain, GA||3 Star||Yes|
|LaTroy Lewis||6'4"||230||4.8||Archbishop Hoban HS, Akron, OH||3 Star||Yes|
|Michael Moore||6'4"||255||4.9||DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, MD||3 Star||Yes|
|Noah Spence||6'4"||245||Bishop McDevitt HS, Harrisburg, PA||5 Star||5 Star|
|Troy Hinds||6'4"||225||4.65||Davis HS, Kaysville, UT||4 Star||Yes|
|Ken Ekanem||6'3"||226||4.65||Centreville HS. Clifton, VA||4 Star||Yes|
|Tommy Schutt||6’3″||301||Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn, IL||4 Star||Yes|
|Eddie Goldman||6'4"||307||Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, DC||5 Star||5 Star|
|Vincent Valentine||6'3"||300||Edwardsville HS, Edwardsville, IL||4 Star||Yes|
|Sheldon Day||6'2"||268||Warren Central HS, Indianapolis, IN||4 Star|
|Danny O’Brien||6’3″||278||5.1||Powers Catholic HS, Flint, MI||4 Star||Yes|
|Greg Kuhar||6'3"||265||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, OH||NR|
|Matthew Godin||6’5″||253||5.03||Detroit Catholic Central, Novi, MI||3 Star|
|Arik Armstead||6’8″||280||5.2||Pleasant Grove HS, Elk Grove, CA||5 Star||Yes||USC|
|Aziz Shittu||6'3"||275||5.2||Buhach HS, Atwater, CA||4 Star||Stanford|
|Ondre Pipkins||6'3"||325||5.15||Park Hill HS, Kansas City, MO||4 Star|
|Martin Aiken||6'3"||245||4.92||Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS, Bamberg, SC||4 Star|
|Jarron Jones||6'5"||305||5.1||Aquinas Institute, Rochester, NY||5 Star||Yes||PSU|
|Jonathan Taylor||6'4"||315||Jenkins County HS, Millen, GA||4 Star||Yes|
|Jaleel Johnson||6'3"||290||Montini Catholic HS, Westchester, IL||3 Star|
|Deaysean Rippy||6’2″||198||4.79||Sto-Rox HS, McKees Rocks, PA||4 Star||Yes|
|James Ross||6’0″||209||St. Mary’s HS, Orchard Lake, MI||4 Star||Yes||MICH|
|Royce Jenkins-Stone||6’2″||215||Cass Tech HS, Detroit, MI||4 Star||Yes||MICH|
|Vince Biegel||6'3"||210||4.58||Lincoln HS, Wisconsin Rapids, WI||4 Star||Yes||Wisc|
|Kaleb Ringer||6'0"||219||4.45||Northmont HS, Clayton, OH||4 Star||MICH|
|Peter Jinkens||6'1"||208||4.45||Skyline HS, Dallas, TX||4 Star||Yes||Texas|
|Camren Williams||6’2″||215||4.58||Catholic Memorial HS, West Roxbury, MA||4 Star||PSU|
|Jeremiah Tshimanga||6'3"||226||5.08||Richland HS, N. Richland Hills, TX||4 Star||Yes||Okie St|
|Jabari Ruffin||6'4"||230||4.6||Downey HS, Downey, CA||4 Star||USC|
|Dalton Santos||6'2"||245||4.65||Van HS, Van, TX||4 Star||Okie St|
|Joe Bolden||6'2"||225||Colerain HS, Cincinnati, OH||4 Star||MICH|
|Raphael Kirby||6'2"||218||4.75||Stephenson HS, Stone Mountain, GA||3 Star|
|Kwon Alexander||6’2″||212||4.51||Oxford HS, Oxford, AL||5 Star||Yes|
|Derek David||6'3"||225||Rockdale HS, Rockdale, TX||3 Star||Yes|
|Dillon Lee||6'4"||220||Buford HS, Buford, GA||4 Star||Yes|
|Terry Richardson||5'9"||160||4.5||Cass Tech HS, Detroit, MI||4 Star||Yes|
|Armani Reeves||5'11"||185||4.4||Catholic Memorial HS, West Roxbury, MA||4 Star|
|Kenneth Crawley||6'1"||170||Woodson HS, Washington, DC||3 Star|
|Yuri Wright||6'2"||180||4.45||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, NJ||3 Star||Yes|
|Kendall Sanders||6'1"||175||4.4||Athens HS, Athens, TX||4 Star||Yes||Okie St|
|Brian Poole||5'11"||187||Southeast HS, Bradenton, FL||4 Star|
|Wayne Morgan||5'11"||188||4.5||Erasmus Hall Campus, Brooklyn, NY||3 Star||Yes|
|Geno Smith||6'0"||175||4.47||St. Pius X HS, Atlanta, GA||4 Star||Yes|
|D.J. Foster||6'0"||185||Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, AZ||4 Star||Yes|
|Elijah Shumate||6'1"||205||4.52||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, NJ||4 Star||Yes|
|D.J. Singleton||6'3"||200||4.46||St. Peters Prep, Jersey City, NJ||4 Star|
|Deon Bush||6'1"||177||4.44||Columbus HS, Miami, FL||4 Star||Yes|
|Jarrod Wilson||6’2″||190||4.5||Buchtel HS, Akron, OH||4 Star|
|LaDarrell McNeil||6'1"||190||4.52||A. Maceo Smith HS, Dallas, TX||4 Star||Yes|
The PAC-12 announced an enormous media deal this week that’s worth a reported $22 million per school per year. The Big 10 and SEC have monster TV deals in place that virtually ensure profitability for their member athletic departments for the near future. That’s life on the top of the FBS division, and there’s no doubt that football is the key driver of both revenue and expenses.
This diary is about the other half. The financial straights of the lower tier of FBS, specifically the MAC, Sun Belt, and post Boise State WAC are also largely driven by football. Unfortunately for them, the train has fallen off of a cliff instead of chugging towards the land of monocles and gold toilets. These schools are reduced to selling home games to artificially increase attendance numbers and playing body bag games to pad revenue.
Specifically, this is about Eastern Michigan football and EMU athletics. What, if any, benefits does the school derive and what are the costs associated with those benefits? Why do they field teams at all on the D-1 level?
College sports have a purpose. The NCAA says that its purpose and the larger point of intercollegiate athletics is to promote things like sportsmanship, integrity, the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence, respect and leadership. These are all good things to promote and I believe athletics can help cultivate those qualities. However, a good club program or the intramural programs that most universities run with student fees can accomplish the same goals and provide much greater access than D-1 athletics. Thus, in my mind, schools must derive some other benefit from D-1 athletics than simply promoting certain values in its athletes—of which Eastern has about 465.
Every FBS school should probably ask itself what benefits it derives from big-time football. It’s a shockingly expensive undertaking, can give the school tons of press (both good and bad), can generate enormous revenue, and can be a significant drain on student funds. It’s easy for the University of Michigan to make a cost-benefit analysis for its football team and athletic department in general. It generates many millions of dollars for the athletic department and is a self-sustaining enterprise. Sure, it’s attached to the school, but it costs the school nothing. The Board of Regents never needs to worry about eliminating a student program to fund football.
Eastern Michigan has a tougher time. Last year, EMU’s athletic expenses were $24.64 million, a whopping 9.2% of the school's General Fund. For a little perspective, there are about 23000 students enrolled at EMU, of which about 2% are intercollegiate athletes. They use their share of the 90.8% of the budget spent on items other than athletics, but 9.2% of the budget is used exclusively to support athletics. Sure, some of that $24 million comes out of TV deals, sponsorship, and ticket sales, but the database shows that to be only about $1.7 million. Everything else comes from the General Fund in some way. By the way, tuition went up 3.8% in 2009-10 at EMU.
However, EMU could still justify athletics if the non-monetary benefits made athletics worthwhile for the school. I think sports teams at U of M make valuable contributions to the student body. Aside from pride, I firmly believe that the Michigan diaspora—I see shirts everywhere—stays engaged with the school in large part due to the visibility of the sports teams. This has benefits for job seeking grads, networking alums, and helps donations to the school. Maybe this is the case at EMU too, but it doesn’t help too much. They only received about $3 million in gifts last year. Even if all of those were directly the result of athletics, there are still almost $20 million that the school gives each year to athletics. People don’t go to games and EMU athletics aren’t on TV unless they’re getting drilling by a Big 10 team in September.
The world has changed. Regardless of why (and let’s not get into it), Michigan doesn’t have money to waste. Why is a public university spending almost 10% of their General Fund on entities that only directly benefit 2% of the student body and don’t produce discernable benefits for the student body, alumni base, or school? Michigan and Michigan State are different. Their athletic departments aren’t a choice of resource allocation for the school. If the department closes, the money disappears. If EMU closes its athletic department, there are over $20 million, by my count, that can be reallocated to improving education, facilities, or even lowering tuition.
Why can’t EMU de-emphasize athletics and expand its club offerings? They could bus to CMU, WMU, Northern Michigan, Toledo, etc and play at a rented high school field on Saturdays. The players could work out at a student gym instead of a team gym. The same could be done with other sports. Just as many students could play, but for millions less. If I was a Regent, I’d ask why.
[ED: Moved to the diaries. This obviously took some work beyond the level of a standard post. ZL]
Part of UUDD’s argument is that player development (and, in particular, playstyle) is a driving factor behind the Big Ten outperforming (and the Big 12 underperforming) expectations with respect to defensive players and offensive lineman. Brian had an alternative/additional explanation: a combination of recruiting service bias and difficulty in evaluating high school lineman.
I think there may another element at work: scouting services overrating certain sections of the country and underrating others, particularly the Midwest. Rivals (the source of the rankings used) doesn't even have a Midwest analyst. Meanwhile, OL rankings are particularly inaccurate since many high school kids need to put on 50 pounds before they can play in college. The flipside—skill position players more easily projectable—sees a much, much lower spread amongst conferences. The worst-performing conference is the ACC at 94% of expectation; the best is the Big East at 108%. That's a much lower spread than you see in the D and OL numbers, one that looks like an even distribution distorted by a little randomness.
If there was a regional bias in recruiting rankings, hard-to-evaluate OL would be the place it would show up most prominently. I think there is. Your ratings are just wrong when Wisconsin has two four-star linemen in the last five years, as they do on Rivals. They are not evaluating linemen correctly. I'm not sure what Big 12's hole of suck on defense represents but I'd be more convinced it was a playstyle thing if they were running 3-3-5s or something. Going up against Blaine Gabbert and a bunch of other passing spreads doesn't make much difference to anyone but a few linebackers, it seems.
Not content to let our fearless MGoLeader’s assertions hang out there without poking around the data a little bit, I asked Mr. UUDD for his dataset* and set to work determining (1) whether Midwestern recruits are underrated by the recruiting services, and (2) whether offensive lineman are comparatively more difficult to evaluate.
Specifically, I looked at (1) whether non-5 star Midwestern recruits outperform the “percent drafted” expectations for their star ranking,** suggesting that Midwestern recruits are underrated, and (2) whether the spread is smaller among the “percent drafted” numbers for offensive line recruits relative to all recruits, suggesting that the rankings are relatively less accurate.
Midwestern Recruits Slightly Outperform Expectations
The first piece is that there is a bias by the recruiting services against Midwestern recruits because the services spend relatively less time and resources tracking the Midwest. That bias translates into lower recruiting rankings for Midwest recruits, resulting in underrating of those recruits. Chart:
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted||Midwest Percent Drafted|
Midwestern recruits of the 2-4 star variety slightly outperform draft expectations relative to their peers from other parts of the country. However, the sample sizes here are way too small to reveal whether or not this difference is significant.
Of course, the chart doesn't disprove my mildly paranoid belief that Midwesterners are consistently being slighted by the jerks on the coasts, so let's call this a win.
Note that the Midwestern 5 star recruits underperform the mean. This has no impact on the claim (5 star recruits can't be underrated), but it's interesting nonetheless. Really small samples for 5 stars is all the explanation I need.
Stars Matter Less for Offensive Line Recruits
The second piece is that the big boys are harder to evaluate because they are less prepared for college football than their smaller brethren. Offensive lineman in particular often need a redshirt and a whole lot of S&C before they can show potential. Thus, recruiting rankings for offensive lineman are less accurate because the evaluation essentially comes down to "he's big and does not apparently soil himself."
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted||OL Percent Drafted|
Once again, the data is consistent with the claim, but not at statistically significant levels. The spread between the chances of being drafted as a 2 star offensive lineman and a 5 star offensive lineman is much smaller than the spread for all positions. In other words, stars may matter less for the big guys, but we need more recruiting cycles to know for sure.
* Huge, huge thanks to UpUpDownDown for sharing his work. As I found out very quickly trying to replicate the dataset, the data is extremely difficult to cross reference because a lot of recruits have the same name or slightly modified their name during their college career.
** Note one small wrinkle in the dataset: players that are eligible to declare for the draft, but haven’t, are counted as undrafted. Thus, a number of players from the recruiting classes of 2008 and 2007 that will eventually be drafted are nonetheless included in the denominator, but not the numerator, in the percent drafted numbers.
Edit: More Fun
In response to comments, the following charts reflect the overall percent drafted for only the 2002-2006 recruiting classes, and the N values for each set. I agree that including '07 and '08 players that haven't declared isn't ideal, but I wanted to be able to compare apples to apples with UUDD's analysis.
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted|
|Recruiting Stars||02-08 Overall||02-08 Midwest||02-08 OL||02-06 Overall|