SportsProf

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

From Jeff Goodman: About 700+ DI College Basketball Players are Transferring

Some who study education have offered that the high school dropout rate is so high because young people get tripped up on math, cannot contemplate geography and trigonometry and then turn off.  I think that they're onto something, personally, as much of what is taught in schools is taught because it always has been taught, and not because for many it will have any relevance for their vocation (and it hurts their self-esteem).  That doesn't mean that kids should not be challenged to stretch their abilities, it just means that maybe we can identify some strengths earlier and not torture some kids and make them feel worthless or irrelevant.  And much of what many do in life might involve some basic algebra and, of course, basic math. 

So let's do some basic math.  Let's suppose that there are 330 Division I basketball teams.  And let's suppose that there are 15 players on each team (some have more, some have less, and if you have more than a certain number you are talking about walk-ons because of scholarship limits -- again, I said basic, as in back-of-the-envelope, math).  So let's multiply 330 by 15.  That gives you 4,950 Division 1 basketball players.  And let's say, for purposes of argument, that these players are equally divided among first years, sophomores, juniors and seniors.  In other words, let's divide the 4,950 by four.  That gives you, rounded up, 1,238 players in each class.  That would give you 1,238 seniors or players who are using up their eligibility.  So, let's subtract 1,238 from 4,950.  That would give you 3,712 college basketball players out there on the 330 teams.  And let's suppose that some quit the game or flunk out.  Let's just say that those would number about one player for every five teams, so let's divide 330 by 5 and get 66.  Let's subtract those 66 players from the 3,712 and that will give us 3,646 players who could return to their DI basketball teams. 

Now, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, about 750 players are transferring.  The reasons could vary, from getting a release because of a coaching change, wanting more playing time, the "senior transfer rule" (whereby the senior graduated and is taking his last year of eligibility somewhere else), to getting a release because, well, the scholarships are one-year renewable and the player didn't perform to expectations to unhappiness for whatever reason.  And now let's do the math -- let's divide 750 by 3,646. 

The result -- about 21% of all Division I basketball players are transferring this year.  Now, I know that the numbers are rough, but the current state of play is that kids who have labored hard in many cases want to get playing time in addition to the free education.  Some will be happy sitting on the bench (see Monmouth, the Carolina "Blue Steel" bench from a few years ago and Mark Titus, when he sat on the bench at Ohio State).  Many will vie for playing time and not get it or get enough.  They will keep in touch with their AAU coaches (and, probably to a lesser extent, their high school coaches), who, in turn, keep in touch with the head coaches and lead recruiters at the DI schools.  Especially the schools that "just failed to land" the player who now is seeking to transfer when that player was in high school.  Most teams have openings and needs, and most players would rather take a chance on a different school that offers a better chance at playing time than staying put and seeing their chances of playing erode.  And, again, these are young people, and many high school stars do no want to resign themselves to "practice player" status when they are 18 or 19 years old.  Hence the transfer rate -- 21%.

This is a bit of a mess, isn't it?  The kids get so excited about being recruited only to have a coach leave, a coach get fired, or a glut at their position.  The coaches get excited about the kids, only to find out that someone just doesn't get that he needs development and might have to wait a season or two before breaking out.  Coaches leave, sometimes because they jump, sometimes before they are pushed and sometimes when they are pushed.  Kids should be picking schools because of what the schools offer beyond basketball, but basketball is what identifies them.  And they hear things from family and friends about how high their celing is, which is a height invariably that differs -- sometimes markedly -- from the ceiling that their college coaches ascribe to them. 

But 21% attrition?  Suggests that basketball is more than an extracurricular. 

It's a business.

And one that trades in the futures of teenagers.

Who wins?

2 Comments:

Blogger haphar said...

Kids play 100+ games per year and another 100 days/year of practice between AAU, school, and fall teams from seventh grade through their senior year. They put a great deal of effort into increasing skills to get to play in college. They're recruited to play for a college whose coach tells them they can play more than just practice. (The parents might do it for the scholarhips, but I can assure you most of the players don't.) If they're buried on the bench they should have the right to go some place else where they can play.

1:14 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

They have an absolute right to transfer. Coaches don't know who will come back and who will transfer, they sometimes don't tell the truth and sometimes kids aren't as good as they looked when they were recruited or don't get any better or incumbents do get better and then the recruit sits. Totally agree. I'm getting to the point, though, where there is way too much emphasis on sports at the expense of a good education that could pay better dividends. The back-up center for one tournament team was at four high schools in four years. That's at least two too many.

11:50 AM  

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