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Can someone please explain how the youth recruitment works in American sports?


Cod Eye
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Was going to post this in the old Questions thread, but seeing how we're giving a megathread less board a go, I'll ask here...

Basically, I've really gotten into "Last Chance U" on Netflix, thanks to a recommendation on the Docu thread. I have always enjoyed watching NFL games, but watching Last Chance U has made me realise I have no idea how the recruitment process works in American sports with scholarships and what not(I assume the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB are all at least similar).

Would someone be so kind as to give me an outline of how it all works. Thanks!

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Maybe @Statto can help here.

I was talking to a mate from New York about this and he was saying how a load of colleges seem to let the sports stars get away with what they want and aren't fussed about what grades they're getting, then once they're spat out by the system after not getting drafted, they have fuck all to fall back on.

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College football is basically a religion especially in The South, mainly Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. 

Even though attendances are in decline (much like the church in general) http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/Attendance/2017.pdf you can see from the PDF there was just over total of 47 million attended games.

If you are lucky to play for one of the big college teams University Of Miami for example then they can literally get away with murder https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/29/the-disturbing-truth-about-college-football-and-rape/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dcb22eb7b4d9

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3 minutes ago, johnnyboy said:

Even if they do get drafted it isn't all milk and honey as the NFL is a meat grinder.  The average NFL career is around 3 years which means if they're drafted in the latter half of the draft they make maybe $1 million for the career.  A lot of players never see that second contract as there is always young blood coming through.  Take away taxes and agents fees and they see maybe half of that.  Spat out at 26 and they'll never quite walk properly or are talking pain meds just to get about.

If they dont get drafted in the first 3 rounds then, unless a miracle happens and they get drafted again by a bigger team then they will probably never earn more then 2 million USD per year.

There's a good article here https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1485807-a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-how-college-football-coaches-recruit-players if you want to know more.

Finally, here is the top 5 stadiums in the USA

Rank Stadium Capacity City State Year opened Type Tenant
1 Michigan Stadium[1] 107,601 Ann Arbor Michigan 1927 Football Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)
2 Beaver Stadium[2] 106,572 State College Pennsylvania 1960 Football Penn State Nittany Lions (NCAA)
3 Ohio Stadium[3] 104,944 Columbus Ohio 1922 Football Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAA)
4 Kyle Field 102,995 College Station Texas 1927 Football Texas A&M Aggies (NCAA)
5 Neyland Stadium[4] 102,455 Knoxville Tennessee 1921 Football Tennessee Volunteers (NCAA)
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8 hours ago, Keith Houchen said:

Maybe @Statto can help here.

Thanks for the page Keith, but I’d say @johnnyboy has done a typically damn good job of summarising! Without getting into too much technical detail, I’d add that recruiting is almost a sport in its own right, with numerous services and websites (Rivals.com being a big name) dedicated to profiling, analysing and assigning “star ratings” Meltzer-style to high schoolers. In practical terms, it’s basically coaches bombarding recruits with phone calls, written correspondence, visits in home & at school, and increasingly social media stuff to get them through the door. The recruiting processs is very heavily regulated but is undoubtedly something of a dark art, if you catch my drift...

The one thing I’d add to JB’s post about redshirting is that from the upcoming season the rule has been tweaked to allow participation in 4 games (1/3 of a regular season in college) without burning your redshirt, to use the common parlance - effectively a restricted 5th season of eligibility.

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a ‘college football for British beginners’ blog but struggling to find the time to sit down & write! If anyone’s got any more general questions about the college game, stick them in this thread and we’ll discuss, and that might give me some further motivation! It truly is the greatest game there is.

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Thanks for all the answers, it makes more sense now. What do the Colleges/Junior Collages get in return for letting the players study there free? Is it some sort of finders fee if a player gets drafted? It's just that tuition fees can be a fortune can't they?

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Yeah, it's ticket sales, merchandise & television rights, just like in pro sports. In more general terms, having a winning sports program is often the best advertisement a university can get - far more important to many than silly things like research & academic standards - so doing well in sports tends to bring more 'regular' students through the doors.

There's no formal 'development' agreements/payment with the pros - strictly, that players go on to play professional sports is a byproduct of collegiate athletics, rather than a raison d'etre.

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Thank you, it's a really interesting discussion from someone who only really has experience of the football YTS and modern day academy schemes.

The draft system always fascinated me too, as it is one of the few aspects of American sports that I think could be implemented, at least to a degree, in the likes of Football, Cricket and Rugby. Also, I always wondered if the players could tell a college/franchise to go bollocks if they didn't like the college involved. I assume it's the same if a player gets drafted to an NFL team they don't fancy?

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I believe one of the other reasons for red-shirting is to deal with players who are struggling with balancing their academic studies as well as training and playing. By redshirting you can effectively give them one year to concentrate on studies and then later on one year to just play football. Or by having them be at the college for five rather than four years, they can spread their studies out.

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What's the deal with the CFL? I remember first hearing about this following the whole saga of Brock quitting WWE. Do a lot of college players go over to Canada if they don't get drafted, and try and work their way up from there, or is that a rare option?

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Canadian Football is a very similar but technically different sport - in the same way as Rugby Union & Rugby League. But yes, many of the players up there played American Football in college & either went undrafted or bombed out of the NFL, for whatever reason - Johnny Manziel & Trent Richardson being two high-profile recent 'converts'. Both hoping to get back to the NFL as a result, I'm sure.

There are non-NFL professional, outdoor American Football options developing too - the Alliance of American Football starts soon, and (maybe) the XFL in a couple of years. Again likely to be filled with undrafted college players. Then there's indoor football...

Only a very small percentage of college football players even get a shot at the NFL.

Edited by Statto
Typo.
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I honestly didn't know Canadian Football was that different. That's a nice bit of trivia - will go and read up on that. Thanks.

The structure of American sports systems in general is interesting, simply because of the sheer difference between them and British ones. Also why the continental European ones are interesting - they're more similar to the UK's, but still retain some differences that are worth reading about. 

For me, it's a bit of a shame that I just can't get into American Football. I've honestly tried, but it's not for me. Wish it was, as London Blitz play their games in the park literally across the road from my house. 

One thing that strikes me: even if the sport in question is something you have no interest in at all, a great game played in any sport is always entertaining to watch. I recently saw an "NFL's Greatest Games" programme on (I think) BT Sport, of the Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers, and found it fascinating. It was largely action interspersed by talking heads and other bits and bobs, but the action itself was gripping. That I now know that Don Strock was a solid back-up who became a legend to Dolphins fans is not something I anticipated at the beginning of last week.

Edited by Carbomb
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Thanks. I'll happily take a look, although my current viewing of choice (when I can get it) is Gaelic football.

The thing about American sports for me is I find the culture surrounding it sufficiently different that I think it would take me more time to get used to as a fan than I'm prepared to put in. If I were to choose an American sport to get into, baseball seems like the closest, as I went to a few Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers games, which were fun. But from an anthropological, sociological, and cultural studies perspective, it's definitely worth learning about.

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Johnnyboy is right about the America's game series. They are great. A lot of the ESPN 30 for 30 will give you a great insight into college sports, the draft, and how the NCAA works. The U, The U part 2, Catholics vs Convicts, Elway to Marino, Roll Tide/War Eagle and Pony Exce$$ are pretty good from a football standpoint. ESPN do a great job of making sports documentaries. My favourite of the when series is probably Catching Hell which is a story about baseball and the curse of the billygoat. 

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