Statistical data indicates the Noles 2010 recruiting class may be in trouble

Recently, we have heard that a few 2010 recruits that had been favoring the Noles are now considering other schools. Certain media outlets have reported that the recruits are concerned about the NCAA sanctions. Some on this site have speculated that the NCAA sanctions will likely not affect this year's recruiting. Their reasoning is that, by February of next year, another season of college football will have erased the NCAA's actions from the public's short memory. I tend to agree with this thinking.

However, to my great chagrine, I recently discovered a study that indicates the Noles may be in more trouble than some of us think. The study, conducted by Mercer's School of Business and Economics, included the collection of data regarding how recruits decide which school to attend. Surprisingly, the data revealed that many factors, commonly believed to influence a recruit, actually had no "systematic" influence on recruits. 

The authors used statistical software developed by SAS along with data provided by (a national website dedicated to college football and recruiting) in the development of this model.  The model was built on a database capturing characteristics and decisions of 3,395 recruited athletes for the three “recruiting seasons” between 2002 and 2004.  On average, each player was choosing from among a group of 4 schools.  A wide array of player and team level data were gathered for this task.  Then, a special form of a probit model was developed to capture, to the best extent possible a statistical equation to capture the decision making process.


We were a bit surprised by the results.  There were a number of factors that we thought would significantly impact the decision of the high school athlete that didn’t.  For example, factors like the school’s graduation rate, the number of Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl appearances, the current roster depth at the recruited player’s position, the number of players from a specific college drafted by the NFL, and even the number of national championships won by a particular program don’t systematically influence the decisions of high school athletes.  Surprised?  So were we.  What, then, does matter?  As it turns out the following factors DO significantly impact the decision of high school athletes:


  • Whether the athlete made an “official visit” to a specific college                      
  • Whether the school is in a BCS conference                             
  • The distance from the high school athlete’s hometown to a specific school          
  • Whether the recruit is in the same state as a specific school
  • The final AP Ranking of a specific school in the previous year of competition            
  • The number of conference titles a school has recorded in recent years
  • Whether the school is currently under a “bowl ban” for violating NCAA rules                    
  • The current number of scholarship reductions a school faces for violating NCAA rules             
  • The size of the team’s stadium (measured in terms of seating capacity)
  • Whether the school has an on-campus stadium                       
  • The current age of the team’s stadium                               

So, in a nutshell, high school athletes prefer winning programs that are
close to home, are in possession of good physical facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA.

Check the summary for yourself here

FSU's recent brush with the NCAA, combined with the theory that some FSU coaches are not effective recruiters (for whatever reason), has me somewhat concerned about the 2010 class. Like I said, my gut tells me that the sting of the sanctions will have faded by next February. But, in the meantime, do we have the recruiters we need to overcome all the negativity? Is eleven months enough time to undo the damage?

Personally, I think we'll know more in the next couple of months. If you recall, the majority of FSU's 2009 class had committed prior to the start of two-a-days. In my opinion, if we don't have a good handful of recruits by that time, we may already have our answer.


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