Thursday, January 3, 2013

School Reform Taken to College Football

Just as reading and math are the cornerstone and foundation of education, in football, the ability to move the football is a fundamental to success.  You can move the ball by passing and by running.  Therefore, to assess a football team's success, it is as simple as measuring the team's ability to run and pass.

A team is not successful unless they are successful in all of the subsets of statistics within relation to a team's offense.  Therefore, a team is "not met" if they do not meet the criteria in both rushing and passing.  Team's must all be the best by 2014 but since it is not yet 2014 teams must just meet progress towards this goal.  There are 2 fundamental ways that we can become successful.  We can truly improve and have every team meet every single goal or we can lower the standard.  To keep high standards, the cut line is based on what it would take to be in the top 70 in each category in order to determine who is successful.  If teams are not successful, then corrective action must take place.  Corrective actions must include (1) A different offense must be implemented, (2) the staff must change, or  (3) create a longer practice season. If problems persist in low achieving football teams, then they must restructure.  Some teams will be taken over by private companies that do not require any knowledge of football but do have a good understanding of the free market approach to football.  Other teams will restructure the governance of the team.

Success stories under this legislation
Baylor-#2 in passing and #12 in rushing
Oklahoma State-#5 in passing and #21 in rushing
Louisiana Tech-#8 in passing and #22 in rushing
Arizona-#17 in passing and #14 in rushing
Nevada-#49 in passing and #8 in rushing

Not Met Teams

  • Alabama-while 16th in rushing, they are "not met" in passing as they are under the cutline at 72nd.
  • Notre Dame (this actually doesn't matter because they are a private school)-39th in rushing and 87th in passing 
  • Florida 34th in rushing and not met in passing (118th)
  • Kansas State-3rd in rushing and not met in passing (83rd)
Some say that this data is not all that matters.  Officials at Alabama say that they provide a great opportunity for their football players and it just can't all be measured by these data points.  Many in the public feel that Alabama is hiding behind a system that has not adequately prepared their athletes to meet proficiency in these data points.  The coaches are just being lazy and don't want to be pointed out publicly for their shortcomings.

The rest of the story
The success stories have a combined 40-24 record and none of the teams were rated as of Jan 1st.
The not met teams are all in the top 5 nationally.

This isn't a fair comparison

Well, first of all, this isn't meant to be a perfect comparison.  Clearly, I don't account for defense in my football analogy.  However,  school reformers don't take into account:  Art, Music, Physcial Education, Science, Social Studies, computer skills, character education, etc.  What makes a school great is hard to quantify.

Data Informed vs. Data Driven
While this data could be useful for Alabama or Notre Dame as they begin to recruit and prepare for the future, it should not be used to punish them.  The same is true for schools.  Data can be very helpful and useful in informing decisions.  However, creating fear based on often faulty data can be very dangerous and can end up punishing the very people that it was intended to help.
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