December 8, 2007

High School Football Demographics

As I mentioned in my recent American Conservative article (now on line), state high school football titles these days tends to be won mostly by Catholic or mostly white exurban or small town schools. One reason for this is that in small towns, voters care about the high school team representing local honor. So the school boards invest in winning football programs. In a big city, however, where the public schools compete against each other, nobody is going to get voted out of office if one team in the school district beats another team.

In my high schools days, my old Catholic school wasn't really competitive with the Los Angeles city schools because they had so much more "speed" and "athleticism," but that's changed radically over the decades. Until this year when Birmingham, an LAUSD team, beat Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks fair and square.

Birmingham went on to win the City title with ease. California doesn't have a playoff system (because it's so big, travel would he enormously expensive and the playoffs would run into Christmas) but it now has three bowl games matching the top big, medium, and small schools from Northern and Southern California. Birmingham will now wait around to find out if they get the invite to play mighty De La Salle of Concord in the Bay Area in the big schools bowl.

Here are the conditions Birmingham, as an LAUSD school, plays under:

The entire budget for the team this season is $13,000.

I asked Prizant when the last time he sent off the helmets and pads for reconditioning and he just laughed.

"I wish we could give them more money, but we just don't have it," Prizant said. "I wish we could have a freshman team, or more than one bus to send them to games. I wish we could pay our head coach more than $3,200. But ..."

Birmingham, like many schools in our public school system, has to make do with less. That means bringing in volunteer coaches, working long hours without ever expecting to get paid overtime, then drawing anything you got left, blood, sweat, tears, and a ton of heart.

In contrast, at Hoover High, in exurban Birmingham, AL, the boosters raise $300k annually, and the coach is paid close to six figures.

It's interesting to compare the demographics of the Birmingham (Lake Balboa, CA) football team to its student body. The team is 60% black, 20% Latino, and 20% other. Last year, the "other" included 9 Polynesians, although this year it's down to 3.

The school of 3,176 students in 2006-2007, in contrast, was 72.5% Latino, 12.9% white, and only 8.5% black. Last year, 9 of the 14 Pacific Islanders were on the football team! I imagine the other 5 were girls. (That actually might be a good test of how much recruiting of football players a high school is doing -- examine the gender imbalance among Polynesians. If there are a lot more boys than girls, the school is bringing in football players, which is supposed to be a no-no.)

When Notre Dame got beat in the CIF finals a couple of years ago by Dominguez of Compton, Dominguez's whole offensive line was Polynesian, including a 319 pound tight end.

It's becoming traditional among the top Southern California football teams to do a Polynesian war chant before games. Mighty Long Beach Poly started the tradition, and Birmingham took it up two years ago.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

Willard said...

state high school football titles these days tends to be won mostly by Catholic or mostly white exurban or small town schools

Catholic high schools are free to recruit, since they can take in kids from anywhere in town, not just within the boundaries set by a school district. Public schools these days often have strict rules against anything that looks like recruiting.

I knew a girl, one of the top volleyball players in her state, who wanted to switch to a neighboring high school her junior year because her sister had become the volleyball coach there. I forget the outcome, though I think she had to move into an apartment with her sister, inside of the school's boundaries, to qualify.

Last year, 9 of the 14 Pacific Islanders were on the football team!

Polynesians are football-crazy. In college, I worked at a place where I had lots of older Polynesian co-workers. It seemed like every single one of their kids played football.

Which raises the question of why Polynesians put on weight so easily. I have to imagine that if they weren't able to conserve calories that their ancestors wouldn't have been able to survive the journeys made in settling all those islands. The people who settled Hawai'i supposedly came from islands 2,000 miles away.

A possible way to test this: do Polynesians get bigger the further away from Asia their island is?

And why are there so many little islands in the Pacific but not the Atlantic? Is it related to the whole "Rim of Fire" thing?

Anonymous said...

Re: polynesians in football, this is an under-researched topic. They are the most over represented group in pro sports. Almost every western US college team (e.g., Pac 10) has at least a half-dozen polynesians on scholarship, though there are probably less than a million of them in total population. Pretty amazing, considering they are descended from southeast Asians who left the continent not so long ago. It could be a founder effect, but I think it's more plausible that a thousand years of war with clubs as the main weapon might favor big, strong, violent male phenotypes.

Anonymous said...

If you watch European rugby, it's coming to be dominated more and more by players from countries like Tonga,Fiji, and Samoa. These are some big, fast, dudes, despite the tiny populations of these countries compared to Europe.

jody said...

the main reason white high schools beat black high schools in football is because of intelligence. this is the same reason that small white nations can blow away big black nations in sports.

intelligence makes a gigantic difference in sports. west africans have such low intelligence man for man that they can barely compete in sports that are more complicated than track.

in the transition from high school to college, something very important happens - smart white coaches, doctors, and trainers replace any of the black ones that were in high school. now you have a situation in which whites are covering the intelligence problem for blacks, which is how you end up with black players and white everything else.

the vast intelligence difference between the staff and some of the black players is obvious at any major DI program.

and, black athletes would last about 4 years past high school without white doctors and trainers. the first major injury they incurred would be their last.

Willard said...

I think it's more plausible that a thousand years of war with clubs as the main weapon might favor big, strong, violent male phenotypes.

No doubt that Polynesians fought each other, just like everyone else did. But they don't seem to be a particularly violent people. They do have gangs, but they're not as overrepresented in the crime stats as certain other groups are, and they're very easygoing in comparison.

Like I said above, I think their tendency to put on weight has more to do with settlement patterns. It's hard to survive long, indefinite journeys from one island to the next if you have a high metabolism.

Evil Neocon said...

Jody's assertion is untrue. The coaching gap white-black is as much economics as anything else. White middle class would-be coaches have relatives to help support them through the lean years of assistant coaching, while black would-be coaches do not. Almost all successful Black coaches have families who helped support them in lean years (Dungy being Exhibit A).

I *do* think the idea that Black=fast=victory permeates many position selection criteria. Catching the ball is at least as important as how fast you can run and get open.

But ... given how narrow victory margins are, whatever coach can get the best athletes systematically for their teams can find a winning margin. I expect to see a lot of positions particularly in the pro level to be more open. Careers and millions of dollars are on the line.

Mary Pat said...

FWIW, I did a little probability calculation of the probability that you'd have 9 or more boys out of 14 kids, assuming prob(boy) = 50% (in real life, it's a little higher than 50% where sex-selective abortions aren't going on. For various reasons, the ratio tends to be about 105 boys for 100 girls)

Anyway, it's about 21% possibility that you have >= 9 boys using 50% probability. That within the realm of non-suspicion, so I wouldn't go by the gender ratio alone.

Anonymous said...

I've read that high levels of body fat enabled Polynesians to spend lengthy periods of time in the water without excessive loss of heat. This was an important feature in a society where fishing was a major activity. While the waters off Polynesia are warm most of the time, they're not always so warm that prolonged immersion is possible without specific adaptations.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

poolside said...

One factor you need to consider is the role that grades play.

Even in football-crazy Texas, the "no pass, no play" rule can decimate a team halfway through the season.

It is not uncommon to see even large all-black schools suiting up just a handful of players late in the season, and bands that don't even have enough students to march.

Interestingly, of all the major sports, football is the one that requires the least amount of individual technical skill.

Basketball, baseball, soccer, baseball and hockey all require kids to start playing at a very young age and put in literally thousands of hours in training and specialized practice to play at a high level.

In football, you can start playing in junior high and earn a college scholarship just a few years later.

Try making a select soccer team or baseball team at age 12-13 with no experience. You will be laughed off the field.

Lucius Vorenus said...

willard: Which raises the question of why Polynesians put on weight so easily. I have to imagine that if they weren't able to conserve calories that their ancestors wouldn't have been able to survive the journeys made in settling all those islands. The people who settled Hawai'i supposedly came from islands 2,000 miles away.

A possible way to test this: do Polynesians get bigger the further away from Asia their island is?


willard: It's hard to survive long, indefinite journeys from one island to the next if you have a high metabolism.

In general, I'm not a big fan of reducing entire populations of people to armchair Darwinist speculation, but if you watch Survivorman, then the only episodes on which Les Stroud has been able to feed himself at anywhere near a normal caloric intake have been the Cook Islands & the first couple of days on the beach in Costa Rica.

On the last day in the Cook Islands, he ate like a pig [by Les Stroud standards, at least - usually, over the course of a week, he comes damned close to starvation].

Anyway, one possible [rather obvious] explanation for why they're so big is because there was plenty of food to eat - i.e. in the South Pacific, there's no evolutionary advantage to being short & scrawny.

Sideways said...


Like I said above, I think their tendency to put on weight has more to do with settlement patterns. It's hard to survive long, indefinite journeys from one island to the next if you have a high metabolism.

I've heard speculation that they spent so much time in the water they evolved in the Bergman/Allen's rules direction towards cold-weather norms. Which is to say, their environment rewarded low surface to volume ratios.

No idea if they really did spend enough time in the water or at least wet to make that a plausible explanation.

Anonymous said...

This is a little off topic, but what type of whites tend to go to predominately black/Hispanic schools in California?

From what I've seen in my corner of the country, it's mainly economically lower-end types. Mainly the ones without the economic means and desire to get to the outer suburbs/exurbs.

Anonymous said...

A point of clarification -- it isn't just that Polynesians are big. They are, and in the past the ones getting scholarships were playing on the O- or D-line. But these days you will find them at safety, linebacker, QB and even RB (esp. FB). So, it's an overall athleticism advantage, not just size.

Justin Halter said...

Funny you mention it, the Arizona big school title was just won, again, by a Catholic school (Brophy Prep) that is the virtual archetype of the kind of disciplined white football culture you described.

Some quotes from the AZ Republic description of the game:

"Brophy did it with the precision that Molander professes."
"Coach Molander coaches precision in practices, games and beyond the field. He wants us to play with heart. This team played as one this season. We are like a band of brothers."
"Brophy's discipline showed in its few penalties - three for 15 yards - and no fumbles or interceptions."
"Brophy led 10-0 when Desert Vista's Allante Battle used his blazing speed to score..."
"Brophy would respond in a calm manner under the steady leadership of senior quarterback Bryan Berens..."

Justin Halter said...

Strangely enough, the Polynesian war chant thing has reached Arizona high school football too. I was watching the mid-size school (3-A) playoffs when I was bit shocked to see the eventual champion, Show Low, doing it before the game, during the moment when their opponent was running out onto the field. I was mainly shocked because Show Low is a rural school, with no Polynesian players at all, as far as I could tell. It would be an interesting sociological study to chart the spread of the war chant across the country.

I think the war chant suits white players well, who are typically more quiet and intense before games than blacks. The war chant looks like a nice way to express and enhance that intensity. The black teams (including those integrated teams with a critical mass of blacks) would typically arrive singing songs on their team bus, at least in my experience in HS football in Florida. I never saw a white school singing songs on the team bus, before or after the game.

Anyone else notice that contrast?

Justin Halter said...

And, oh yeah by the way is that part of a pattern or something, Notre Dame Prep won the Arizona 4-A title, in just their third year of varsity football...

Mark said...

I was bit shocked to see the eventual champion, Show Low, doing it before the game, during the moment when their opponent was running out onto the field. I was mainly shocked because Show Low is a rural school, with no Polynesian players at all, as far as I could tell.

From Wiki on Show Low, AZ: "the population of the town is 10,000 with 25% of them having Mormon heritage."

Which probably explains it. I really wouldn't be shocked if Show Low's football coach or some other influential person served a Mormon mission in Polynesia or played football with Polys at BYU.

Mormon missionaries had huge success early on converting Polynesians to their faith. (Though the numbers at that Adherents link seem pretty high). The result is that Utah has a higher percentage of Polynesians (1%) in its population than any state save Hawaii. BYU's football team probably has more Polynesians than any other. (BYU Football has had really bad luck with blacks, who are always getting into one sex scandal or another - a huge no-no there).

BYU even has a branch in Hawaii, and it runs the Polynesian Cultural Center there.

DAJ said...

I am astounded by the illogical racial aggrandizement exhibited in some of these comments. Let me get this straight. If blacks under-perform Gentile whites in academics, socialization, and economic power, lower average black IQ is to be blamed. Blacks who ascribe their poorer circumstance to anti-black racist conspiracy theories are to be ignored as irrational self-deluders. If Gentile whites under-perform Jews in academics, socialization, and economic power, lower average Gentile IQ is not to be blamed. Anti-Gentile racist conspiracy theories are not to be ignored as they are not irrational or delusional.

If Gentile whites are overrepresented in executive board rooms and political offices, whites can attribute their success to well-documented higher IQs, not to pro-white systematic policies. If Jews are overrepresented in executive board rooms and political offices, Jews cannot attribute their success to well-documented higher IQs, but to pro-Zionist systematic policies. Likewise, if blacks are overrepresented in the speed positions in the NFL and NBA, blacks cannot attribute their success to well-documented better short-distance speeds and vertical leaps, but to pro-Negroid systematic policies of professional sports leagues.

It is curious indeed that white success is not contingent upon pro-white-Gentile discrimination and favoritism, but Jewish or black success, in anything, is the direct result of pro-Jew/pro-black discrimination and favoritism. I marvel that only white Gentiles can benefit from true meritocracy.

MArk said...

Daj,

Where in the hell have you been? Most of the regulars on this site (as opposed to the trolls) seem to have no problem with the idea that Jews might be richer because of "well-documented higher IQs." I might not like it - who wouldn't want their ethnic group to be on top? - but I acknowledge it.

daj said...

Mark,

You are correct that the bulk of Sailer's audience freely recognizes the correlation between high Jewish IQ and high Jewish economic and political power. I should have specified that my post was aimed at the trolls who cannot seem to acknowledge that Jews and blacks rise in some fields by merited effort and superiority.

Sideways said...

A point of clarification -- it isn't just that Polynesians are big. They are, and in the past the ones getting scholarships were playing on the O- or D-line. But these days you will find them at safety, linebacker, QB and even RB (esp. FB). So, it's an overall athleticism advantage, not just size.
fullbacks aren't a position known for speed, but strength (and decent speed) in a compact package. Safeties must be fast, but I'm pretty sure there are no professional polynesian safeties, and the vast majoritiy of college safeties are too slow to play in the pros. Your data points are all primarily selected for above average strength and size, followed by speed. It doesn't support your hypothesis well

Sideways said...

I must say, Daj, I've never seen a post here that discounted the possibility of superior Jewish IQ by someone who did not also discount the possibility of inferior black IQ. There are definitely people here who believe in convoluted conspiracies about the Jews, but I can't think of one that implies that their power is not fundamentally a result of superior intelligence. Even the old Jupiter didn't claim something like that

Steve Sailer said...

Polynesian pro safety: Troy Polamalu of the Steelers - Samoan.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I think Polamalu runs a 4.3 and is about 210+ lbs of ripped muscle. Not the old stereotype for polynesian players.