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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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The colleges are an "unofficial" farm system for the NFL.  It's uncommon for players to come into the NFL who haven't played football at college, but not altogether unheard of.  Athletic scholarships are awarded to students who then play for the college in lieu of tuition fees.  There might be some players who aren't on scholarships and are "walk-ons" as they weren't recruited by the college specifically for football.  Last Chance U was a Junior College (JuCo) where they were trying to get picked up by, or get back in, a major college programme.  The bigger the college you play for, the more eyes of punters and scouts you have on you.  Some JuCo players make it to the NFL, but they're the exception.

Players cannot join the NFL straight out of high school even if they didn't/don't want to go to college.  Standard practice is that players enter the seven round draft where teams pick in a pre-determined order depending on how they performed the prior season (worst picks first).  Teams can trade draft picks for different pick and player combinations.  Players can refuse to sign for the team that drafts them, but it's rare as they would have to wait until the following season and enter the next draft.

If a player goes undrafted when they were elligible to be drafted they can be signed by any team as an undrafted free-agent.

Most of the US sports use similar systems, but I'm not up on the draft methods or elligibility rules.  E.g. I believe the NBA can/could sign players out of high school and the NHL do/did operate a draft lottery rather than it being based on performance if I'm remembering properly.

Edited by johnnyboy
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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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3 minutes ago, Keith Houchen said:

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.

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.

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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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7 hours ago, SuperBacon said:

@johnnyboy is a 'walk on' the same as a 'red shirt' that I've heard referred to?

Redshirting is to extend eligibility as there's a finite limit on how many years you're eligible to play college sports.  Redshirt players go to college, practice with the team, but don't actually play in games so it doesn't count against their number of college eligible years.  E.g. a college's star quarterback is in his last year, but a really good prospect just came out of high school.  Rather than waste a year of that high school prospect's playing eligibility whilst star player is around they sign the prospect and get them to redshirt their freshman year.  The next season high school prospect would play and that would count as their first year of accrued college playing time.

Terms you often hear are "redshirt freshman" and "true freshman." "True freshman" would be playing in college straight away upon signing thus using up eligibility, whereas a "redshirt freshman" is playing their first season against their eligibility cap but it isn't their first season as part of a programme.

In Star Trek it means you're getting killed by an alien on an away mission.

Edited by johnnyboy
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8 hours ago, Keith Houchen said:

Maybe @Statto can help here.

Thanks for the page Keith, but I‚Äôd say @johnnyboy¬†has done a typically damn good job of summarising! Without getting into too much technical¬†detail, I‚Äôd 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 ‚Äústar ratings‚ÄĚ Meltzer-style to high schoolers. In practical terms, it‚Äôs 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‚Äôve been toying with the idea of doing a ‚Äėcollege football for British beginners‚Äô blog but struggling to find the time to sit down & write! If anyone‚Äôs got any more general questions about the college game, stick them in this thread and we‚Äôll 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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6 minutes ago, Cod Eye said:

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?

Box office.  The money in high level college sports is eye-watering, of which paying tuition is a drop in the ocean. Further down it's more reputational, prestige etc.  You get a good name, people are more likely to sign with you, that makes you better.

 

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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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3 hours ago, Cod Eye said:

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?

A quality high school player is likely to have multiple offers from colleges so they'd usually have an element of flexibility as to where they end up.  They would get to pick from the offers they receive.

It's the NFL entry draft that is you go to where you're drafted or you sit out a year to re-enter the next draft.  Essentially career suicide unless you're a generational talent like Bo Jackson who refused to play for Tampa after being drafted in the first round.  The next year he went to Oakland in the seventh.

Some fringe players prefer to go through the draft unpicked as then they can sign with anyone, but you can't straight up circumvent the draft.

2 hours ago, JNLister said:

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.

Yes, and it can also be used for injury reasons too.

Edited by johnnyboy
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