January 26, 2014

Selectionism

We're all supposed to believe that nurture matters more than nature, but it sure seems like people behave as if it's the other way around.

From an article about girl's soccer recruiting in the New York Times:
In today’s sports world, students are offered full scholarships before they have taken their first College Boards, or even the Preliminary SAT exams. Coaches at colleges large and small flock to watch 13- and 14-year-old girls who they hope will fill out their future rosters. This is happening despite N.C.A.A. rules that appear to explicitly prohibit it. 
The heated race to recruit ever younger players has drastically accelerated over the last five years, according to the coaches involved. It is generally traced back to the professionalization of college and youth sports, a shift that has transformed soccer and other recreational sports from after-school activities into regimens requiring strength coaches and managers. 
The practice has attracted little public notice, except when it has occasionally happened in football and in basketball. But a review of recruiting data and interviews with coaches indicate that it is actually occurring much more frequently in sports that never make a dime for their colleges. 
Early scouting has also become more prevalent in women’s sports than men’s, in part because girls mature sooner than boys. But coaches say it is also an unintended consequence of Title IX, the federal law that requires equal spending on men’s and women’s sports. Colleges have sharply increased the number of women’s sports scholarships they offer, leading to a growing number of coaches chasing talent pools that have not expanded as quickly. In soccer, for instance, there are 322 women’s soccer teams in the highest division, up from 82 in 1990. There are now 204 men’s soccer teams. 
“In women’s soccer, there are more scholarships than there are good players,” said Peter Albright, the coach at Richmond and a regular critic of early recruiting. “In men’s sports, it’s the opposite.” 
While women’s soccer is generally viewed as having led the way in early recruiting, lacrosse, volleyball and field hockey have been following and occasionally surpassing it, and other women’s and men’s sports are becoming involved each year when coaches realize a possibility of getting an edge. 
Precise numbers are difficult to come by, but an analysis done for The New York Times by the National Collegiate Scouting Association, a company that consults with families on the recruiting process, shows that while only 5 percent of men’s basketball players and 4 percent of football players who use the company commit to colleges early — before the official recruiting process begins — the numbers are 36 percent in women’s lacrosse and 24 percent in women’s soccer. 
At universities with elite teams like North Carolina and Texas, the rosters are almost entirely filled by the time official recruiting begins. 
While the fierce competition for good female players encourages the pursuit of younger recruits, men’s soccer has retained a comparably relaxed rhythm — only 8 percent of N.C.S.A.’s male soccer athletes commit early. 
For girls and boys, the trend is gaining steam despite the unhappiness of many of the coaches and parents who are most heavily involved, many of whom worry about the psychological and physical toll it is taking on youngsters.
    

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I went to purchase some "selectorized" weight racks, as advertised on Craigslist, which proved to be way the heck down in middle-of-nowhere Tennessee [actually, I think that it was just a mile or two beneath the border, in Georgia].

Anyway, there were in a massive indoor sports facility [the kinda climate-controlled warehouse which would make a young Bela Karolyi envious], and it was in the dead of winter, but the place was filled with big corn-fed farm girls, lifting weights and running sprints and practicing their batting swings for the upcoming high school softball season.

I got the impression that they all expected to get NCAA Div I scholarships.

Their instructor was an ex-jock, from UGA-Athens or UT-Knoxville, but he wasn't even the proprietor, he was just some younger guy, an employee, biding his time before he could start his own facility [or maybe get a really choice 4A/5A high school coaching gig].

poolside said...

It is possible to recruit female soccer players early because they tend to be strong academically.

So college coaches don't have to worry whether their recruits will be eligible to be admitted in two years.

Though the elite college soccer programs recruit early -- most of the top players make a verbal commitment in their sophomore year -- the vast majority of Division 1 programs aren't getting commits from players until they are seniors, as in other sports. So this isn't a huge issue for most girls who dream of playing soccer in college.

And in reality, an early commitment is easier for a lot of girls as it eliminates the real pressure of last-minute recruiting that we see in football, where kids are barraged by college coaches.

Anonymous said...

>>New York Times wrote:
"""Early scouting has also become more prevalent in women’s sports than men’s, in part because girls mature sooner than boys."""

Doesn't this seem to confirm nature and not nurture? It is implying a genetic link exists between male an female development.

Another thing. The more that the NCAA recruits women's sports at earlier ages than before helps to pave the way for parents (and their kids) willing to do "whatever it takes" to achieve that scholarship and hence a place in DIV1 sports.

This unfortunately includes the rise of PEDs/Steroid use among teens including girls.

Would have been better for the Times to delve into this phenomenon, the rise of women's NCAA sports and the relationship of performing enhancement drugs in order to hasten their development, on field performance and achieve that NCAA scholarship in the process.

pat said...

As Vince Lombardi might have said: "Nature isn't everything, it's the only thing".

Nature vs. Nurture is a badly cast dichotomy. Nature isn't particularly well understood in that the particular SNPs that constitute the relevant genetic configurations that explain IQ are as yet not enumerated. But it is relatively easy to distinguish one egg from two egg twins and this yields a generally unambiguous measure of genetic similarity.

In the environmental half of this pseudo equation there is a lot more fog and uncertainty. Let's pick a couple environmental factors that are believed to be important to the child's IQ. First there are the 'Great Books'. Secondly there is listening to Mozart. Personally I approve of both practices. I read the classics (in translation) and I have given a couple years of my life to Mozart. But the evidence is mighty thin on the ground for either of these having ever done much to boost junior's smarts.

Galton was wrong. The way the choice should be cast is not 'Nature vs. Nurture' but rather 'Nature vs. Mozart'. If you did that the results would be something like 70% for Nature vs. 0.001% for Mozart with the remaining 29.999% unexplained.

The Galton manner of setting genetics variables against all other possible explanatory variables inadvertently includes all unexplained variance in with all the undefined variables in a hodge-podge called Nurture. That makes the term Nurture a reified concept. The common Nature vs. Nurture phrasing treats the two sides of the equation differently. The term Nature actually means something whereas the term Nurture is just another way of saying - 'We don't know'.

Almost nothing in the environment except the most extreme deprivations has been shown to have much effect on IQ. It only appears that way because we include the unexplained variance in Nurture.

When we say that 70% of IQ is due to Nature because it has a .70 heritability, that does not mean anything except that IQ can be predicted with some certainty if we know about the subject's relatives. But what does the other 30% that we attribute to Nature mean? Not much. It certainly doesn't point us toward any particular action. It could be Mozart, the Great Books or spinach. It is junk knowledge.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

.. a shift that has transformed soccer and other recreational sports from after-school activities into regimens requiring strength coaches and managers.


Sounds like "nurture" to me.

Anonymous said...

>>poolside said...
""It is possible to recruit female soccer players early because they tend to be strong academically."""


There is no direct evidence to confirm this. Granted, many, if not most women athletes tend to graduate within 6yrs since they want to keep their NCAA DIV1 eligibility and there are fewer professional opportunities in women's sports compared to men's sports. Thus they end up retaining their eligibility and graduating in the process.

The question is: Are women student-athletes also choosing bogus majors and hence clustering as their male athlete conterparts?

Admittedly it is difficult to tell either way, if we judge the US Women's National Soccer Team as the baseline. Most if not all on the roster graduate from their respective NCAA schools. Some major in what are known as "clustering" majors while others actually attempt to major in more diverse subjects that you certainly wouldn't see DIV1 Football and Basketball players choose for majors.

For example, some players on the National Team roster chose to major in English LIt.; Psychology; Biology; and even Mathematics and Technology.
You would be hard pressed to find an NBA or NFL counterpart on any team roster who chose these types of majors and actually graduated in them as well. Some of these players on the national team have even made the NCAA's Academic All-American team, suggesting that these athletes are spending some time in the classroom and making the most of it.

But it is difficult to say if the National Team represents the "best and the brightest" and thus is an anomaly from women's soccer players in general or if it indeed represents most NCAA women's soccer players from an academic perspective.

If women's soccer players could in fact declare early for their Pro League's draft, does this mean that fewer women's soccer players would choose not to graduate and get their degree? Therein lies the question.

guest007 said...

The article barely mentioned that the commitments are not binding and mean nothing. The coach could be gone in four or five years and the new coach may want someone else.

Women's soccer at Division I only gets 14 scholarships but the University of Texas has over 25 women on its soccer team. Also, the NY Times and other publications have had stories about what a bad deal most athletic scholarships are. Why give up the ability to pick ones own major just to play a sport.

Anonymous said...

>>guest007 said:
"""Women's soccer at Division I only gets 14 scholarships but the University of Texas has over 25 women on its soccer team."""


Na-no. Nearly ALL NCAA DIV1 women's soccer rosters are around 25-27. Nearly all of them. UCLA is up there, so is Stanford, Florida, etc. They're all around 25 spots on the roster.

So if 14 out of a women's soccer roster of 25 in DIV1 are on scholarship of some kind (both partial and full) that's 56%. That's pretty good.

DIV1 Football team rosters carry 53 and they're not all on scholarship. Are those on scholarship even half?

Still, what that suggests is that Women's Soccer in the NCAA carries the most athletic team scholarships which makes sense. Aside from Basketball, Women's soccer is the only major TEAM sport for girls to play at the NCAA.

What better way for a DIV1 school then to show that they have lots of scholarships then by giving them to women's soccer? And Title IX is satisfied.

So 56% of a NCAA DIV1 Women's Soccer team is on scholarship of some kind, that's pretty good.



guest007 said...

To anonymous who obviously knows little about ncaa scholarships and cannot be bothered to look it up.

http://www.berecruited.com/resources/recruiting-assistance-from-qput-me-in-coachq/ncaa-scholarship-allotment

There are a wide range of womens sports and schools like add sports like lacrosse and crew because the add many womens athletes for Title IX compliance while not costing that much. Women's lacrosse at the Division I level gets 12 scholarships but has more than 30 players. However, those scholarships, just like womens soccer, can be given partial scholarships.

However, for mens football, there is an 85 scholarship limit and all of the scholarships are full scholarships. It is actually against the NCAA rules for have a player walk-on for all four years.

The scholarship is not a very good deal if you look at the majors of the players. At the University of Texas, the number one major seems to be undecided along with kinesiology and sports management. How many smart women are giving up on the high paying degrees like engineering in order to play sports.

Anonymous said...

>>>guest007 said...
"""To anonymous who obviously knows little about ncaa scholarships and cannot be bothered to look it up."""

Some things I was wrong about while other things I was correct.


""""There are a wide range of womens sports and schools like add sports like lacrosse and crew because the add many womens athletes for Title IX compliance while not costing that much."""


FACT: MORE AND MORE women are going INTO Soccer. This is because UNLIKE a vast number of women's team sports at the NCAA level, SOCCER a women athlete could (at least theoretically) have a professional career.

The world cup AND the Olympics have done a lot to highlight Women's Soccer. Unlike some of the sports in the NCAA for women, they basically are dead end and very little to use them for post-college.


"""Women's lacrosse at the Division I level gets 12 scholarships but has more than 30 players."""

So then for women's soccer (which YOU clearly sounded as if you didn't know that ALL NCAA Women's soccer rosters tend to carry at least 25 per roster) a 56% rate is pretty good.

ALSO, if you bothered to read Steve's post fully, it stated that women's soccer 20 yrs ago only had about 82 in 1990 and there are NOW 322 soccer teams in DIV1. This strongly suggests that more and more women are going into soccer as an NCAA career.




""""However, those scholarships, just like womens soccer, can be given partial scholarships.""""

DUH, I said that. I said there are many on both kinds of scholarship (partial and full)
But continue.





However, for mens football, there is an 85 scholarship limit and all of the scholarships are full scholarships. It is actually against the NCAA rules for have a player walk-on for all four years.


Thanks for clarifying that. It ALSO confirms what i said before. That many NCAA Football and BB as well are clustering in bogus majors in order to maintain their eligibility. In other words, only a fool thinks that these "students" are primarily at an NCAA school in order to get an education. They're there cause they can't declare for the NBA, NFL at age 18. IF they could, many most likely would skip NCAA altogether.


Anonymous said...

>>guest007 said:
"""The scholarship is not a very good deal if you look at the majors of the players."""

It is a very good deal in that they're getting a scholarship that should go to a more deserving non-athlete student who has the grades to cut it at the school.

FACT: They aren't there for the NCAA. They're there cause they have to be there. Why do so many declare as early as they can for the draft? (e.g. One and done? Is THAT an example of someone who wants to get an education? Answer: No)

They're there cause they have to attend an NCAA, the gateway to the draft in their respective sports.



""""At the University of Texas, the number one major seems to be undecided along with kinesiology and sports management."""

I assume you're referring to number one major among women athletes, yes???

Now, IF what you say is in deed a fact, then THAT is definitely an example of Clustering.

FACT: More and more women athletes are in fact choosing this major. It is a bogus major, it is known to be fairly easy and these players (like their male athlete counterparts) are able to maintain their eligibility. For women basketball players, they have to maintain their eligibility for the WNBA draft.

For women's soccer players, they too now have a professional league and thus have an added incentive for maintaining their eligibility.

But Sports Science, Kinesiology, Sociology etc per the USA Today investigative report on Athletes clustering, these above mentioned majors are example for women athletes in bogus majors. They do so for one reason only: To maintain eligibility for their respective sports' pro drafts.




''''How many smart women are giving up on the high paying degrees like engineering in order to play sports."""""


NOW, who is being naive? This is a new generation. A version of the "dumb jocks" or "jockettes." Jockettes want the same things that their male counterparts. HENCE the clustering in bogus majors in order to maintain their NCAA play time and declare for the draft. That's it.

Actually, at least in women's soccer, according to the NCAA All Academic Teams, there are a wide variety of women soccer players who ARE majoring in various majors including engineering


Its probably two factors at work here.

1. The Jockettes and thus they cluster around bogus majors. These are not there for an education. They're on scholarship cause they've been recruited and want to pay professionally one day. Just like the men athletes.

2. Some are pretty smart. While they too have been recruited they also know that the NCAA is the final stop. They're not going to make it onto the National Team and thats the big time. All the endorsements, any money to be made, the prestige, Olympics, and the World Cup come from here. The national team receives the bulk of all women's soccer attention, and rightfully so.

Therefore, these women tend to major in more conventional fields. In point of fact, the NCAA All Academic American and District Teams are better represented than the Men's BB and Football rosters. Its probably here where you see the diversity of majors.

Therefore: IF a women's soccer player has a bogus major = she's a jockette and wants a chance to play profesisonally.

IF a soccer player has a more legitimate major = she also wants an education and probably knows she'll never make it to the pros much less the national team.

poolside said...

Most women soccer players receive a partial athletic scholarship, which is then supplemented by academic money.

For example, a relative of mine who was recently recruited by a D1 soccer program received a one-fourth athletic scholarship (the minimum) and a handful of other academic grants and scholarships. In total, roughly 75 percent of her tuition and other fees were covered.

The academic money, however, required her to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Players who go to smaller schools or programs that aren't top tier sometimes wind up with a better financial deal because they get more academic or general grant money (in the case of Division 3, all scholarships are academic or need).

By the way, these verbal commitments are almost always honored by coaches, at least for one year. Not doing so would create a bad reputation that no coach wants.

But in recent years, more and more elite players have been changing their minds before or on Signing Day, especially when they see who else has committed to a North Carolina or Stanford.

After that first year, however, all bets are off. Scholarships are renewed on an annual basis and the turnover is pretty high at many soccer programs. Many girls find the time commitment just isn't worth it, and many are burned out from years of club soccer.

Anonymous said...

>>poolside said:
"""poolside said...
Most women soccer players receive a partial athletic scholarship, which is then supplemented by academic money.""""

Thank you for clarifying.



"""For example, a relative of mine who was recently recruited by a D1 soccer program received a one-fourth athletic scholarship (the minimum) and a handful of other academic grants and scholarships. In total, roughly 75 percent of her tuition and other fees were covered."""


That is still impressive. With any luck or hard work etc., perhaps she will earn a try out with the National Team. Remember, that's the main goal for all NCAA Women's Soccer players who are seriously focused on playing post-college.

UNC, for example, not only is a women's soccer powerhouse but it has sent many many many players to the National Team.


"""The academic money, however, required her to maintain a 3.0 GPA."""


Now, question: If you know, would that apply to ALL Div1 schools, like UCLA? Would that type of GPA requirement be across the board?

3.0 is pretty high. DIV1 Mens BB and FB only requires its scholarship athletes to maintain a 2.0 GPA. I had thought a 2.0 was all that was required for women athletes as well to maintain. Thanks for clearing that up.

Then, she and others like her would definitely have a strong incentive to cluster; that is, chose a relatively easy major in order to maintain her eligibility. Why major in Engineering or a difficult field when you can cluster with your teammates in Sociology, breeze thru w/keeping the 3.0 and the eligibility is maintained.

GOOD LUCK to your relative. Perhaps one day she will make the National Team and have a chance to play in the World Cup or the Olympics.



"""But in recent years, more and more elite players have been changing their minds before or on Signing Day, especially when they see who else has committed to a North Carolina or Stanford.""""



OR UCLA. All 3 schools have sent plenty of their players to the National Team. So that has to be a strong incentive as to committing to the school.



"""Scholarships are renewed on an annual basis and the turnover is pretty high at many soccer programs. Many girls find the time commitment just isn't worth it, and many are burned out from years of club soccer."""


Could be because they lack focus and only the strong survive. Good luck to your relative. Perhaps one day she will land a roster spot on the National Team and play in the World Cup.

poolside said...

Now, question: If you know, would that apply to ALL Div1 schools, like UCLA? Would that type of GPA requirement be across the board?

Keep in mind that the grade requirement didn't apply to her athletic scholarship (except that she remain eligible). The 3.0 requirement was for her academic scholarships.

Anonymous said...

>>poolside said...
""Keep in mind that the grade requirement didn't apply to her athletic scholarship (except that she remain eligible). The 3.0 requirement was for her academic scholarships."""


But DIV1 schools such as UCLA have extremely high tuition if the athlete comes from out of state. So every bit helps.

What I hear you to be saying, is that the athletic
scholarship the bulk of the total scholarship is 2.0 for eligibility but the academic scholarship part is 3.0.

What if a woman athlete is on full scholarship? Then it's a total athletic scholarship and they only have to worry about maintaining the NCAA required 2.0GPA, is that correct? It's that way with the men athletes I thought it would the same for the women.

I mean, UCLA and the SEC in particular would still lose an awful lot of athletes if they had to maintain that high a GPA. We read of the UNC scandal of athletes taking bogus classes, can they really be expected to maintain a 3.0GPA when even the NCAA rules don't require that high a GPA.

OH, Perhaps if an athlete is admitted as a Special Admit. They don't have to maintain the 3.0GPA whatsoever, right? In some cases, at least with the men, a 1.8GPA is acceptable.

If an athletic scholarship required all of its athletes to maintain a 3.0 GPA they would be in trouble because roughly 90% if not more would be on probation and would automatically lose eligibility just based on that.