At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
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."
Interesting discussion in the other thread. I figured I'd check in with the MGoParents and future MGoParents. We'll have to see what kind of responses come through, what the sample size is, and we're obviously not a random sample. I'll post the data once it arrives with some possible conclusions, and then get those conclusions torn apart since I'm a mechanical engineer as opposed to someone who manipulates data for a living.