this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Starting in Aug 2016, incoming NCAA athletes must have a 2.3 GPA to compete immediately. Incoming athletes above a 2.0 (the current threshold) but below a 2.3 will be required to take an academic redshirt year. I, personally, don't have a problem with this. In all honesty, I wouldn't be against the threshold going above a 2.3. In my opinion, the transition from high school to college is difficult enough, but kids that struggled in high school to meet academic requirements should (in theory) also struggle in a college setting, and giving them a bit more time and energy to focus on school is probably a good thing (assuming we are believing the student-athlete mantra).
Dan Mullen sees something wrong here. He's afraid he won't have enough players to play with this new rule. In his opinion, the solution is to have freshmen that meet the 2.3 GPA threshold get an additional year to play, or 5 years of actual playing. His reasoning? These immediately eligible freshmen are potentially be punished because they are being forced to play to make up for the freshmen that can't play immediately.
"You might take a freshman and they are being punished for having better grades. They might be forced to play even though they needed a redshirt year," Mullen said. "One of the thoughts I had was there's a mandatory academic redshirt year for a certain group of people...well, if you are above that new standard you should get five years of eligibility. Why punish someone who might be forced to have to play? Instead of punishing guys for doing bad, why not reward guys for doing good?"
Dan Mullen always kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and I was fairly happy when he wasn't needed to be an option for the Michigan job. Of course, my opinion on this is much simpler than Mullen's. If you are worried about not having enough players to play, recruit more players that are also good students (or at least 2.3 GPA students). That doesn't seem that difficult to me, and it rewards athletes that take academics at least somewhat seriously (or as serious as you need to in order to get a 2.3 GPA). But, ya know, SEC.
After seeing XtraMelanin’s post about the decline of football yesterday, my interest was sparked. I’m recovering from surgery and have way too much time on my hands, so I figured I’d dive into the numbers to see if I could find any trends. Xtra’s thread provoked a lot of good debates. Unfortunately, due to each state having their own high school athletic organization, it takes awhile for the NFHS to compile all of the data. Statistics for last year won’t be available until the end of this year.
Who are the big players in High School Football?
I will focus on the ten largest states by participation; Otherwise there is just too much data. These numbers are for male football athletes during 2014.
Argument: Football participation corresponds directly to population
Let's take a look at how population has changed over the last decade.
|State||Population 2014||Population 2004||Percentage Change|
And now, football participation over the last decade:
|State||Participants 2014||Participants 2004|
Findings: While Michigan was the only state whose population has declined over the last decade, four states saw declines in football participation. It is hard to ignore what population growth has done for North Carolina and Georgia.
Argument: The birth rate is on the decline.
Unfortunately, I was finding conflicting data for the birth rates during the time when high school athletes for my parameters were being born so I'd rather not go off of that. However, using the US Census estimates, I was able to get the number of 14-17 year old males in each state and compare to those playing in 2014.
|State||Males 14-17 years old||Percentage playing football|
Findings: Not a lot. I was actually surprised at how high the football interest was in Michigan.
Argument: The economy dictates how many participate in football.
When the recession hit 2008ish, many schools were faced with budget cuts. Some had to cut programs, or make them pay to play.
|Year||Schools offering football|
|Year||National Football Participants|
Findings: The recession did not affect football as a whole.
Argument: Kids these days are lazy. They would rather play video games than a sport. Now get off my lawn.
|Year||Total Male Athletes|
Findings: The number of high school athletes have trended upward in the last decade.
Argument: Kids are playing other sports instead of football
Findings: Hard to argue with that. The total number of athletes has increased consistantly, while the football player numbers have had a bit of a ebb and flow.
Argument: Concussion research has hindered athletes from playing football.
I will refer again to this chart:
|Year||National Football Participants|
Findings: There was a fairly dramatic decrease in football participation between 2011 and 2012. As you all remember, Junior Seau shot himself in May of 2012 and sparked the debate about long term concussion effects. This correlation cannot be ignored.
I couldn't find hard data about younger football players. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Pop Warner Football participation is down 6% since 2008. My guess is that more parents are discouraging their children from playing during crucial brain development years, but then letting them make their own decision once they get to high school.
Argument: Undereducated parents are more likely to risk their children's health playing football on the off chance it may be their ticket out of poverty.
Findings: False. According to a study done by The Child Trends Databank, parents with graduate degrees are the most likely to allow their children to play football.
I will be interested to see if high school football participation will continue to trend up once the new numbers are released.
NHFS.org , Census.gov , WSJ.com
With the news of 11, 21, 47, 48, 87 and 98 jersey numbers going into retirement yesterday, I figured this was a bit of relevant news.
There were questions on whether Desmond Morgan would get to keep the #48 jersey that he has worn since 2012.
Well, judging by these posts of his on Instagram, it looks like he's going to have to give #48 up.
His new number choice is very interesting, though.
I thought this could be a time saver for many people here. Anybody know an easy way to import the football schedule into a Google calendar (or, for others, any other type of e-calendar) and save me the 5-10 minutes doing it manually?
Not sure if this was parsed into other stories so if so feel free to IBD, but if not worthwhile to note as many have speculated there were ultimatums given - especially in tems of medicals this summer and it sounds like none of those folks will be leaving at this time or the near future. There is also a blurb about anyone new coming into the program - it sounds like the door is not completely shut on that but there is nothing of urgency.
Harbaugh also said Tuesday that he does not expect any further attrition before the start of the 2015 season. Asked if there would be any possible additions to the roster before the beginning of the year, Harbaugh said "I don't know that. There's nobody that's really on the ... I don't know."