Tuesday, December 23, 2014

JV Alignment 2015

A Debate Has Begun

Mixed or tiered JV Regular Season Play

Reasoned debates are a healthy thing.

Here is a perspective:

BCSSFA Junior Varsity 2014 (Regular Season)
AA vs. AA
53 games -average score difference of 24.3 points
Largest score difference: 86 points
18 Games (34%) decided by 14 points or less
21 Games (39%) decided by 28+ points

21 games -average score difference of 25.2 points
Largest score difference: 54 points
4 games (19%) decided by 14 points or less
9 games (43%) decided by 28+ points

AA vs. AAA
57 games -average score difference of 25.5 points
Largest score difference: 61 points
16 Games (28%) decided by 14 points or less
8 victories by AA teams over AAA teams
25 games (44%) decided by 28+ points

Have received some statistical comparisons of play this past year at the JV level.  Take a good read folks.  At face value this would lend itself to a sense of parity, particularly between the AAA vs AAA and AA vs AAA games.  Still, parity is not complete.  AA vs AA is where the percentage of close contest is most favorable.  The AA vs AAA margin of victory is decisive in terms of percentage is 44% to 28 % being 16 % from a 2-1 margin.

Still, this may be palatable to some from a mathematical point of view.  Thank goodness however, our species does not communicate in numbers.  Our literature would lose meaning and relevance.  Try sitting down by the fire and reading several chapters of great binary code or rich exchanges of prime numbers and algebraic formulae.  Could turn into one of those nights where you just couldn’t put that book down.

What is missing here, is the reality of cross-over play in mixed divisions.  You see, I would venture to say that the majority of AA teams facing AAA competition in the JV (***developmental***) league did not roll their benches very hard at all.  In fact, coaches seeking to 1) win the game 2) keep the score close 3) keep the integrity of their offensive, defensive and special teams units 4) prevent ridiculous one on one mismatches for safety reasons,  probably don’t play their complete rosters or anything approaching their complete rosters in such contests.   The result being that:  1) starting units become 2 and 3 way starters peppered perhaps with middle of the roaders here and there 2) Attrition due to injury over a season spikes (a mathematical risk-management certainty), many players, through no fault of their own other than physiological development do not see meaningful playing time and are relegated to being living, breathing hitting dummies at practice at a time in their football career where they should be getting more playing time on a level playing field.   The ripple effect of this being: 1) Sagging morale 2) Loss of interest in the sport 3) Depleted rosters mid-to late season.  This depletion of the roster numbers is compounded by the attrition taking place amongst the iron men.

Now, this situation gets big legs in year two and three.  You see, in small schools, with the smaller pool of eligible athletes, the loss of a player or five is huge: 1) Less kids move up to varsity from the previous year’s roster 2) The kids new to the sport/in less mature stages of adolescence are not dumb to the experience of those who preceeded them.  They figure out what is coming down the pipes and they vote with their feet by not even trying the sport.  Many of those who do, opt out at the first adversity they encounter with playing time/getting smacked around 3) This again factors in to the atrophy of their program.

Factor in things like coaching availability, geography, school culture et al and you see where this is headed.  Over time, the competitive gap between the strong and the week widens to the point of absurdity.

There is a reason for anti-trust law in the business world and there is a reason for numbered tiering and scheduling.   This is particularly so at our JV level of play.   The statistics above cannot adequately give a back story, illustrate how games were played or even come close to nuance.  They do not speak to “facts on the ground”, group psychology/perception, physical attrition or cumulative effect on programs.   They are descriptive in a stove piped way.  They are a tool to rationalize a point of view in an argument, but are merely a sentence in a much larger and layered story.   They are crude.

I would submit to everyone that the litmus test for determining whether or not JV football is aligned in the most proper way would be to measure how many young people come back to play again the following year.  Other forms of measurement beyond this single statistic being nothing more than commentary upon it.

If we retain football players in our respective programs from the grade 8/JV level, we are successful.  How else can success be measured?


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