“The Pac-12 just doesn’t have the numbers.”

Some pretty eye opening data here:

According to the NFSHSA, participation in California dropped by approximately 3,000 athletes year-over-year and is now down 11.7 percent over the latest five-year stretch (2014-18).

Meanwhile, Florida, which feeds numerous Power Five conferences, has experienced a decline of just 0.6 percent over that five-year span.

Georgia, a key feeder state for the SEC (and others), has lost just 3.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Texas, the primary pipeline for the Big 12 and a vital recruiting ground for the SEC, has experienced an increase in participation over the five years.

* In the fall of 2014, there were 163,998 players in Texas (11-player tackle).

* In the fall of 2018, there were 165,641.

Contrast that to California:

* Participants five years ago: 103,740.

* Participants last fall: 91,305.

Or, to put it in an even more dire perspective:  “Last fall, there were 4,000 more high school football players in Texas than in the entire Pac-12 footprint.”

Parents’ fears over head trauma are playing into that, although that’s not the only reason for the decline.  But as a trendline, that disparity means this:

Daniel Jeremiah spends hundreds of hours watching film of NFL prospects and talking to coaches while preparing for his role as lead analyst for the NFL Network’s draft coverage.

He’s also a Southern California resident with a son who plays high school football.

Personally and professionally, Jeremiah’s life is the Pac-12’s talent pipeline at its entry and exit points.

“You see some individual players” as good as those in the SEC and Big Ten, he explained recently when asked to compare the Pac-12’s high-end talent to its Power Five peers.

“You’ll get one here or there, but the difference is the waves of guys, especially on the lines, the defensive line,’’ he said.

Now, this is just me speculating out of my ass, but if you’re steadily losing ground on your home turf, the only way going forward to make up for that is to go elsewhere for talent, and if that’s the path you have to take, how do you make it attractive for recruits outside the region to come west?  Well, that California legislation might not be as bad a thing as Larry Scott might think right now.  Just sayin’, necessity can be a mother sometimes.



Filed under Pac-12 Football, Recruiting

8 responses to ““The Pac-12 just doesn’t have the numbers.”

  1. Harold Miller

    So the California legislature is being an accidental visionary?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KornDawg

    If southern school start losing recruits to California, how long until we start seeing coaches lobbying for their states’ to enact similar laws?


  3. PDawg30577

    I’m telling you, Kirby could fix this. He’s got his own legislative team, you know. If they can carve out a special 90-day exception from open records laws just to help recruiting, this should be a bipartisan slam dunk.


  4. TimberRidgeDawg

    When a state turns blue, high school football is screwed. Purple is survivable.

    In all seriousness, while the concussion issue is a real issue and has an impact on California participation, if you look at their changing demographics for the past 25 years Callifornia is bleeding the residents that are most likely to play football and being replaced by residents from countries with no background in football. Primarily Latin America and Asia. The state of California is still growing but the native born population is exiting faster than it’s being replaced by those coming in from other states. The difference is being made up by foreign immigration so lower participation in football should come as no surprise.

    Oddly enough, one of the primary states where native Californians are moving is Texas. Not sure that would help explain the growth in Texas and decrease in California but its an interesting observation.


    • FlyingPeakDawg

      But the Californians moving to Texas have all crammed themselves into the Austin area so the greatest beneficiary is UT…soccer.


  5. The west coast in general is just so different culturally. That laid back vibe doesn’t translate into adults living vicariously through 17 year olds on Friday nights.

    Not a thing in the world wrong with that, mind you. But it makes it hard to see how those PAC-12 schools keep up.

    It’s going to take someone being creative (a la Oregon in the Chip days) to find an inefficiency in the game so to speak.


  6. JCDawg83

    Just drop the Pac 12 out of the P5 and make it the P4. Do away with the committee and have the four conference champs play in the playoff for the NC. Seems like a great solution brought on by a happy accident.


    • PDawg30577

      Now THIS^^^ person gets it. A Power 4 would make an eight-game playoff not only easy, but imminently fair. Every conference championship game would be a play-in to the CFP. There would be no need for a championship committee or even a computer. Got a gripe with the final four? Write your conference commissioner. Under such a setup, that’s where that particular buck would stop.