Interesting article on economy hurting B1G...

Submitted by BlowGoo on January 3rd, 2014 at 8:13 AM
Without turning this into a political thread ( FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T BRING IN POLITICS!!), I just read an interesting article on the economy's effect on B1G recruiting:… Basically, it suggests as long as the jobs decline in the midwest, we'll be fighting the SEC with our hands behind our backs.



January 3rd, 2014 at 10:49 AM ^

There is NO WAY hockey is seen as being as violent as football. Sure,I know it is violent. I also know bicycling causes more concussions and deaths than football. But, the perception of football is that it is the worst thing your kids can do (speaking as a percent).

Lacrosse is also very physical.

How many deaths do you hear about attributed to hockey? Now, how about paralyzed players and severe spinal injuries? Now think about NFL players and former NFL players in the news.

Perception drives the middle class moms in deciding what is barbaric.

User -not THAT user

January 3rd, 2014 at 4:08 PM ^

If you follow the sport, hockey has life-impacting injuries that are every bit as violent as football.

Deadspin and SBNation are pretty good about detailing skate-inflicted injuries...and of course there's the Clint Malarchuk injury immortalized on YouTube...the Marian Hossa high stick that nearly cost Bryan Berard an eye and effectively derailed his careeer... and thanks to the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh a few years ago Sidney Crosby has become the poster child for the NHL's looming concussion problem which was overlooked as it destroyed Eric Lindros' career.  The brain trauma going on in hockey is every bit as serious as that being reported with retired football're only just beginning to hear about it in hockey (see Bob Probert's suicide as a case-in-point).    If you want to talk about spinals, you may have heard about Travis Roy becoming paralyzed from contact with the boards on his first ever shift for Boston University.

That's just standard run-of-play related incidents that I came up with off the top of my doesn't even begin to cover goon-related injuries like the one inflicted by Todd Bertuzzi (the reason I can't pull for the Red Wings) on Scott Moore all those years ago.


January 3rd, 2014 at 9:53 AM ^

Dang you Red Berenson and Steve Yzerman for making our northern young men want to play hockey instead of football!  We had a great soccer and hockey teams, track and cross country too but our basketball/football/baseball were atrocious.  The athletes didn't play those sports at our school for the most part.  Standard mid-size SE Michigan suburb.

Doc Brown

January 3rd, 2014 at 10:14 AM ^

Yep, same at my high school. My high school was predominantly upper middle class. It is not surprising that the best athletes in my school played soccer, cross country/track, ice hockey, lacross, gymnastics, and golf. All of those sports (minus LAX which just started) we had multiple state titles while I was attending. Our football team was a joke until this season, when we made the playoffs for the first time since the 70's. 

j.o.s.e maizenblue

January 3rd, 2014 at 9:58 AM ^

As much as I can see a lot of truth to people moving south and raising their kids in SEC country, 7 of the past 16 Heisman winners grew up in the mid west.

2009: Mark Igram Flint

2008: Sam Bradford Okla

2006: Troy Smith

2003: Jason White Okla

2001: Eric Crouch Neb

2000: Chris Weinke Minn

1997: Charles Woodson


Jinkin Mongol

January 3rd, 2014 at 10:08 AM ^

These issues don't seem to be hurting Big Ten basketball much.  I know there are fewer players on a team but there are more D1 schools competing for said players.  Perhaps some of the differences can be explained by the weather in that "up north"  7 on 7 football tournaments and practices can't take place much of the year while they essentially have year round for this "down south".  Basketball doesn't have this discrepency. 


Also, saying that Big Ten football is dying and then putting a cover photo of an OSU team that was ONE win away from the BCS championship seems a little strange. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 10:15 AM ^

The article focuses mostly on the MW decline. Let me offer a few factors for the rise in the SE.

1. Urban population. Increased density is a factor as much as simply # of people. As an example, a 50% increase in Atlanta's population over the last 20 years creates more players but also a ripe training environment and recruiting base. As Spurrier has said, the population of Atlanta is now > than South Carolina so he recruits Atlanta as hard as SC.
2. Spring football. Three weeks of intense practices clearly improve/maintain skills. urban petitioned in Ohio for this practice in HS but lost.
3. Coaching. HS coaches are revered and given ample support, but they have to win. No one confuses the matter. In Georgia, only 8 coaches have been at their school for 10 or more years. Pressure to build a winning program.
4. Winter / summer training. Mandatory and based on the speed and conditioning at the SEC schools. Also a lot easier to build speed when 80 kids can run in shorts on the football field in January.
5. D1 mindset. High school football is treated as mini D1. The whole year mirrors colleges with mandatory winter conditioning, spring ball, kick-off classics, etc. 8th graders are "EE" as they start lifting and training with most HS teams as a class in Jan - 8 months before entering HS. Even moms talk about the top recruits from other schools and where kids are committed.
6. Passion. HS and D1 football are kings. No other sports are close. Basketball is well behind and receives far less talent and resources than football. A family friend from Stlanta signed with a B1G school for b-ball because he was amazed by the passion at games.
7. Resources. Population shift was also about companies moving executive roles to the SE. They've added financial resources. Coaches, facilities, travel, camps - the football resources have improved substantially.


January 3rd, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

I have been preaching this same concept for years now. Just look at Michigan's once 'elite' schools and they seem to tell the story. Schools like Country Day used to be loaded with solid athletic talent year in and year out. In large part, due to the economy those schools have not been getting the sheer numbers that they once did.

Not as many families here in the Midwest can afford to have their kids travel on the elite teams that compete against the best competition nation wide. Couple this with the poor weather for outdoor sports and the fact that seemingly annually another big business seems to leave a rust belt town for sunny Dallas or Atlanta, we find ourselves in an unfair battle.

We are competing against a region that already takes football more serious and now has a large influx of money and people to feed their obsession and pay those in charge of their athletes progression some of the best and competitive wages in the country.

When studying U.S. History you always learn about events like the great migration where southerners, both black and white, traveled north to booming Midwest towns in search of industrial work. Although maybe not near to the same extent a reverse migration has been going on here for years. Because thee are so few jobs available here I know many people personally that have packed up life here and moved to a southern city that is steadily growing.

You can disagree about why these events are taking place but one would be hard pressed to disagree with the fact that it is happening and has been happening for at least the last 15-20 years.

It's the American corporate way. Build up a great industrial empire in cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pitt, and then when you find it too expensive to maintain those old, dilapidated buildings just leave them to rot with no consequence. Then if you want you can free yourself from a bad economy by simply moving to a place that has never had a large industrial identity and set up shop. Easy for all parties involved except the people who's jobs you left behind. You now have better weather, less restrictions, and a workforce that you can probably pay slightly less. Rinse, cycle and repeat when the people their begin to feel your buildings are becoming blight.


January 3rd, 2014 at 10:45 AM ^

The build up of the modest was based on people moving there for a better life with middle class wages.

Right now, the migration south is mainly those workers trying to keep those jobs, at a lower relative salary and in much more desperation.

The Midwest is becoming stronger by not relying on "unskilled labor" which s king elsewhere....


January 3rd, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

You realize the transplant automakers on the I75s corridoor (Toyota, Honda, BMW, MB, Hyundai-Kia) have similar pay and benefits?  All without the UAW

Granted, this is from 2007 (and I am lazily not going past the 1st two pages of google results)

I'm sure Michigan wouldn't have been a good fit for the 777X Boeing wing project, with all the skilled machinists and oh, Willow Run sitting idle.  Wonder why Boeing didn't want anything to do with Michigan but is entertaining Indiana and South Carolina.  o.O


January 3rd, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

can deny Detroit and Flint do not produce the talent they once did.  Those are the two cities in Michigan that have lost the greatest population.


Think about the amazing talent in the 80's Flint and Detroit produced.  Its just not the same




January 3rd, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^

I can deny it because, well, we are just shooting the breeze here, right?


Football Study Hall says that between 2008-2013, Michigan is about 10th in producing top football recruits.  Michigan is also about 10th in population.


Was the state ever a football producing juggernaut?


January 3rd, 2014 at 11:12 AM ^

The reason why the Big Ten isn't good is because of coaching, plain and simple. Some else mentioned it, but all you have to do is look at basketball. The Big Ten hired the best coaches, and now we're the best league. Look at the Pac 12 football. They all went out and hired great coaches, and now they're probably the best league. 

Big Ten football is bad because it's insular and acts like it's still the 1970s (outside of OSU, who's dominated the Big Ten). 

Here's the recent coaching hires before they came to the Big Ten:


Michigan: MAC/WAC coach.

Purdue: MAC

Illinois: MAC

IU: Oklahoma OC

Minnesota: MAC

PSU: Patriots OC (though now we'll see)

Wisconsin: Utah St

OSU: Florida (two time national champion)


One of these things is not like the other (and the other oddball, O'Brien, did about as well as you could expect). 


Let's compare to basketball:


IU: Big East

Michigan: Big East

OSU A-10 (following an Elite 8)

Illinois: MAC

Iowa: Sienna (after three straight tournament appearances)

Purdue: Big Ten Assistant



Kilgore Trout

January 3rd, 2014 at 11:58 AM ^

I think this is really the biggest factor in the B1G's issues in football. Local economies are suffering, but the university's athletic budgets have never been better with the BTN money and exponential ticket price increases. I just don't buy that money is the problem. 

The ESPN B1G guys (Rittenburg and Bennet) have been talking about this for a while. Go cheap on your coaching hires and it shows. You can add MSU into your chart above as well for football. Dantonio was a successful Big East coach and given the time and resources, he worked out well for MSU. the PAC 12 is a good example too.

USC - PAC 12
Washington - Top end MWC with multiple BCS bids
WSU - Big 12
Oregon State - NFL, past successful coach
Arizona - B1G
Arizona State - Big East
Oregon - integral part of already successful coaching staff
Stanford - integral part of already successful coaching staff

On the less successful side, they have...

Cal - WAC
Colorado - WAC
Utah - promoted from within. Still transitioning to PAC12, but showing promise

It's similar to the discussion around the Lions now. I support getting Whisenhunt because he's been to a Super Bowl before. In the last twenty years the coaches who have taken Detroit teams to the top have been there before (Bowman, Babcock, Brown, Leyland) so I think that's the model to follow. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 11:17 AM ^

Dumb article!  One could argue that the state of Ohio and Michigan have been hit the hardest by the shitty economy. However, OSU and Michigan have two of the biggest athletic budgets in the country.  Michigan State will finish #2 in the country if Florida State beats Auburn.  They would be in the national title game if not for Dantonio playing musical QB's.


January 3rd, 2014 at 11:25 AM ^

I don't get the correlation here.

If you look at Top 10 winning percentage by decade, this so called "southern domination" kicks in around the 1980s, and is only slight.  Otherwise it's pretty even. If anything there's a noticeable increase in winning % by western teams since 2000 caused by the likes of USC, Oregon, Boise St. Stanford.

1950-1959: Economic Boom. Only 4 of Top 10 teams in winning % are based in south: Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Ga Tech, S. Miss.  Rest are midwest, east or west coast.

1960-1969: War, economic and social turmoil, exodus to cities. Split 50-50. Top 10 teams in winning % based in south: Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Missoui, Ole Miss

1970-1979: War, economic recession, inflation, off gold standard Only 3 of Top 10 teams in winning % are based in the south: Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.  Rest are elsewhere: ASU, Michigan, Ohio St. , USC, NDame, Penn State, Nebraska

1980-1989: Economic recession in first half, followed by boom latter half, population migration to south and west.  6 of Top 10 teams in winning % are based in south: Miami Fla, Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, FSU, Auburn. Rest: BYU, Michigan, Penn St., Nebraska

1990-1999: War followed by Economic recession first half, with growth middle and latter half 6 of Top 10 teams in winning % based in south: FSU, Marshall, Florida, Tennessee, Miami Fla, Texas A&M

2000-2009: War, economic boom fueld by Fed printing first half, natiowide depression at end 7 of Top 10 teams are based in south: Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, TCU, LSU, Georgia, Virginia Tech.

2010-2013: End of wars, largely entirely an economic recession 6 of top 10 teams are based in south: Alabama, LSU, FSU, Oklahoma, OK State, S. Carolina.  Noticing the rise of the west: Stanford, Oregon, Boist St. and Northern Illinois.


January 3rd, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

The growing economic strength of the South relative to the Midwest strikes me as off the mark as a cause of SEC success.  I have always thought that football is played by individuals of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. As the concern about injury has increased this trend is likely accelerated with fewer wealthier kids playing the sport.  I did a quick search and found several items in research papers where this was related as fact but I could not find the actual data.  It would be interesting to see the numbers for average family income and marital status of the typical college football players’ parents.

I suspect we would find that the average incomes are lower than average and that the rate of single parent households is higher but I would like to see the data to confirm.

If we assume all of the above to be true it appears that the weaker economic status of the average southerner is a factor as opposed to growing southern affluence.   If I look at the percent of children in single parent homes 6 of the top 10 states are in the south (Georgia 39%, Alabama 39%, Florida 40%, South Carolina 43%, Louisiana 48%, Mississippi 49%).  Ohio 37% and Texas 36% are in the next ten.  Michigan is in the middle at 35% along with California at 34%. 

If we look at median family income a similar story appears.  The bottom 10 gives us Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia.  Eight of the bottom 10 states in terms of income are from the south.  Note that Ohio ranks 41st.  If we look at the next 10 lowest states we pick up South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. That pretty much covers the South.  Texas is the exception ranking as the 21sthighest in terms of household income. Michigan comes in at 25.

If we accept that college football players come from poorer families it is clear that the South offers an abundance of these types of families relative to other regions. The effect of culture would also be interesting to evaluate and may help explain Texas which is economically in the middle but generates the highest number of players. It would be interesting to see if the average income of players from Texas is higher than Midwest locations.  Essentially we would be trying to see if middle and upper middle class parents in Texas are more likely to have their children play football than parents in other regions.  If that is the case it would serve to expand the pool of potential college football players beyond what the demographics of the state/region would typically generate.

LS And Play

January 3rd, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

I think, more than anything else the difference lies in coaching. If you look at Big Ten basketball and compare the quality of coaching to Big Ten football, you can see why Big Ten basketball is so successful, while football is not. The top programs have Hall of Fame caliber coaches and the middling programs (guys like Groce, McCaffery, Painter) have highly regarded coaches as well. In football, this is just not the case from top to bottom. As long as we continue to hire mediocre coaches, the Big Ten will continue to lag behind the SEC. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 12:40 PM ^

I always wondered why basketball teams like Missouri, Wichita State, Gonzaga and Kansas would possibly be so good at basketball from a historic perspective. Does it have anything whatsoever to do with socio-economics, family income, state income taxes, job growth or economic growth/decline in those states?  Maybe. But it doesn't seem like there's a direct correlation or if there is any, there are so many goddammned variables effing up the deduction one might attempt to make.


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

With KU, you're dealing with the historical accident, so to speak, of James Naismith ending up there and the program blossoming from that (thanks in no small part to Phog Allen).  As for Kansas the state - and similar states like IN and MO - you're dealing with places where there isn't much to do other than play basketball, at least in the winter. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

Can help explain things like, “There are a lot of good football players that come out of the South”. It is just one factor however and can be overridden by local factors.  So as a recruiter in the South you have the advantage of more players in your local area but you still have to recruit. Good coaches can build programs in areas that are not filled with top talent because you only need 20 or so top guys to have a great team.

In the end it’s always about the mix of positive and negative factors you have to work with.  For Big Ten teams this means they have to overcome a disadvantage in terms of the total number of available players locally. At the same time Big Ten Teams are in an excellent financial position and can provide top quality facilities and education. The southern focus of football does not mean that teams cannot compete.  It just takes an effective strategy to keep and develop local talent while identifying and drawing top prospects from other regions.

For perspective let’s say Auburn is able to fill a roster with 4 star guys with a mix of 15 local and 5 not local.  For Michigan this may require a mix of 10 local and 10 not local.  While that is a significant difference recruiting an additional 5 guys from outside your region vs. an SEC schools should not be an insurmountable task.


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:50 PM ^

Knows everything about the US, the main issue is jucos in the sec and the bias in voting.

I hate MSU as much as everyone, but why does a 1 loss sec team go to the Nc game, while a 1 loss B1G does not? Is the sex team better? Let's ask Georgia. Or even SC from last year (in which an average M team was damn close to beating).

By the way, tell NJ that the south is the way to go.

We need negs on the iPhone for dumb threads.


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:54 PM ^

Maybe SEC dominance has something to do with perception and media. The SEC is touted as the best conference so they are more often voted high (even when they lose a game) and get in NC games. Since they are in NC game more often they have higher odds of becoming champs- simple probabilities. The SEC hasn't looked all that dominant this year, is the South's economy going down?

My guess is, once we have some sort of limited playoff going and teams actually have to earn their title then you will see SEC dominance fade (unless they are voted into 2 of the 4 spots!) Oversigning may----- just may------have something to do with this also.

If the SEC football dominance was due to the economy, then they should be dominant is Basketball also since the same types of kids are into this as are football. So much BAD logic in that article.


January 3rd, 2014 at 9:21 PM ^

Would you prefer ABCNews, Fox, CNN, etc.?

If you don't think those are propaganda machines as bad as al-Jazeera and probably worse, you are very ignorant.

Sorry if that is considered politics, but I think that had to be said. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

Pretty bad take considering the SEC has long built itself on the backs of poor kids.

The Big Ten is a bad conference because they have not taken any advantage of the resources its network has afforded it. In a league that could afford to attract the creme de la creme of the sport, it is satisfied scouring the MAC and hiring someone who has an outside chance of being a great coach instead of someone who has given concrete evidence of it.



January 3rd, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

More people have moved south since the economy has gone sour, PLUS more kids who have a choice would rather stay in the south or go to the south and play football versus freezing their asses off in the north like most of you currently are...doesn't require some long drawn out algorithm of complex data to figure out.   

Texas alone has grown over 30% since I moved down here from Michigan 20 years ago.  Those numbers make a difference - whether we like it to come to terms with it or not, they do.


January 3rd, 2014 at 4:43 PM ^

Like many others, I suppose, we moved south for the weather. I work for a national company, so getting a transfer within the company to another location worked out well. We wanted out of Illinois becaused of the cold and taxes and picked Atlanta. As you may know, it's a big city with a large number of 5A/6A suburban high schools within 45 miles of downtown. Makes for a lot of competition between schools just 15 minutes apart.

Now that I'm here I see kids are playing sports from late Feb to late October. Doesn't matter what the sport is, there is practice and games almost all year long. Kids specialize on one sport, have more time in the year to play (and improve), and more of them appear to be playing. My theory is that all this practice time and single sport dedication produces more and better athletes.

Not saying that all are better, but with a higher population and more practice time, this should produce more 5* kids than areas with areas with lower populations and shorter seasons.

Not sure how parents jobs would effect the outcome. I see low income families with great football players, softball players, and wrestlers at my kids' school ...and high school the 3 miles down the road!