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Wednesday, July 21 2010

Is Turnover Killing Evansville Sports?

Since the All-Star break (the last eight days), the Evansville Otters have participated in four trades and signed four free agents. They released one player and suspended another. This is a 24-man roster of professional players, who would ideally play one or two seasons with a team. The number of transactions is a trend over the last couple of seasons. So much so that player transactions are no longer a story.

In college, though, player transactions remain a big story. Perhaps the biggest story of the week. Since January 1, 2009, the Evansville Aces mens' basketball team has lost (in roughly chronological order):

  • Kaylon Williams
  • Zach House
  • CJ Erickson
  • Brian Bouchie (mid-season, no less)
  • James Haarsma
  • Monie Hudson
  • Derick Johnson

When players signed up for the team, they were expecting four years of at least marginal playing time. None of the above-listed players stayed at Evansville for more than two complete seasons.

There has been some chatter in the Courier & Press comments about whether this is normal player turnover.

So I did some looking. Evansville has had 7 players request transfers away. Compare that to two schools in the Valley: Missouri State and Southern Illinois with 2 and 3 respectively. Or compare to a Horizon League team: The last player to request a transfer from Valparaiso was Brian Bouchie in 2007. No transfers were recorded in the period of study. How about the Ohio Valley Conference? Austin Peay has had three players leave, and one of those was by way of season-ending injury in his 5th year of eligibility.

Moreover, the majority of the players who requested transfers away from MSU, SIU, Valpo and AP were freshmen. I stopped looking after going through these schools^1, because its pretty clear to me that this is not normal turnover.

Both the Otters and the Aces have had disappointing results over the past couple of seasons. Is the turnover the cause or the effect of the poor in-game performance? It seems to me there is at least a significant correlation. I provide evidence for my claim by saying "Successful teams don't have turnover." Examples: 2010 Cornell Big Red basketball. New York Yankees since forever. The Indianapolis Colts since 1999.

Cause or effect?

^1: I also looked at Creighton and Bradley, neither of whom had any press releases about players requesting transfers. I believe they simply have a policy of not publicizing these things, and that they do have transfers. I did not look any deeper.

Monday, July 19 2010

Suggestion for Michelle Obama's Fitness Campaign

Reference

Mike brought this up on Twitter on Friday and turned it into a blog over the weekend.

I'm especially intrigued by point #4:

4. Overhaul the NCAA

What does the NCAA have to do with obesity in general? Well, nothing. But what does the average 10 year old know about the NCAA? I'd guess something about basketball and a bracketologist.

But indeed the NCAA has more to look at. This is one of the things that I would have like to know ten years ago. In the same way that an introductory band instructor has his charges try various instruments before assigning chairs, the ideal physical education course would cover a lot more than football, basketball, and baseball (and its variations, kickball and softball).

To use myself as an example, I didn't know what the sport of "Cross Country" (here, referencing running) for a really long time. It turned out to be something I was interested in considerably, and now do pretty well at. I might have done better had I been on a competitive team at some point. I certainly would have gotten into it at an earlier age.

Its all about establishing a pattern at a relatively young age.

My initial reaction to the tweet on Friday:

@A_Jelly_Donut @ScalesOnFire: Afraid #michelleobama only has the power of the spotlight, the same power Oprah has been trying to use 2 preach fitness 4 yrs

I'm not actually sure if Oprah has been preaching fitness, or preaching weight loss. When you think about it, the two are very different. Fitness is a pattern. Weight loss is a one-time goal at its worst. Oprah is really a great example. She's had a goal to drop down to 225 pounds (or whatever, I picked a number I thought was reasonable based on her size today). She did it once, and then added 70 pounds back.

That's not fitness. The distinction should be made clear in any public service campaign that Mrs. Obama might embark on.

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