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The Decline of Football and the Acceleration of Contraction


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Many choose to ignore the facts and refuse to admit that the sport is contracting and in decline.

The attached statistical analysis provides hard evidence to the contrary.

Given these approaching headwinds, does it not make sense for fringe high school football programs to reassess their priorities and determine if plowing ahead against the current trends is truly in the best interests of all stakeholders ?

Do schools which struggle to find enough bodies to practice really feel the situation is going to get any better given the overall direction of national trends?

Indiana high schools and prep football fans would be better served with 260 healthy football programs, instead of 320 where 20 % of them struggle to survive from week to week.

 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2020/01/28/the-decline-of-football-is-real-and-its-accelerating/?sh=688541fd2f37

 

 

Edited by DT
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The stats are quite harrowing.  

The reality is that 10 to 15% of the high schools in the state are represented on this site.  Things are generally upbeat and positive at those schools, and people can find positive things to talk about and discuss.  Its the other 85% of the schools that are being impacted by participation declines that you need to be concerned about.  

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Amazing how people can be confronted with irrefutable evidence and yet they choose to keep their heads firmly planted into the sand.  

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I actually don't 100% disagree with you when it comes to the fact that some schools probably should look at contracting their football programs, or at least look to moving to the new 6-man/8-man football (can't remember which it is) that is coming to Indiana.

However - it's just a little tired at this point. Serious question, how many threads have you started concerning this topic? Like, we get it. Those who will agree with you, agree. Those who do not, disagree. I don't think anyone's mind is getting changed at this point because it's been discussed ad nauseum.

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Serious question: How does LESS football grow the sport of football in Indiana? How does this benefit students and education-based athletics? 

In my opinion, opportunity to play a sport allows students to be connected to a school. It's another connection for those students who are at risk of dropping out to a school. It contributes to the school community to have a team to support and cheer for at events such as Homecoming. 

I am sure no team enjoys getting its hide handed to it every Friday, but there still is an opportunity to play and improve and get better even in those programs that struggle. I just don't understand how less football benefits those who might need it. If a school wishes to make an investment in a football team and program, I say, in the immortal words of the Bad News Bears, "Let Them Play!" 

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On 6/19/2022 at 7:17 PM, DT said:

Many choose to ignore the facts and refuse to admit that the sport is contracting and in decline.

The attached statistical analysis provides hard evidence to the contrary.

Given these approaching headwinds, does it not make sense for fringe high school football programs to reassess their priorities and determine if plowing ahead against the current trends is truly in the best interests of all stakeholders ?

Do schools which struggle to find enough bodies to practice really feel the situation is going to get any better given the overall direction of national trends?

Indiana high schools and prep football fans would be better served with 260 healthy football programs, instead of 320 where 20 % of them struggle to survive from week to week.

 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2020/01/28/the-decline-of-football-is-real-and-its-accelerating/?sh=688541fd2f37

 

 

I'll repost here for those that didn't see it on the other contraction thread DT started 

Consolidation not Contraction

I know in the southeastern part of the state there are quite a few football programs that would benefit from this. Now I know school corporations make decisions based on a thousand other things then athletic programs but some of these smaller schools that are still out there I think would benefit from either consolidating with other small schools or a big school.

I think a great example of this would be the schools in Decatur County. Currently those include Greensburg, North Decatur & South Decatur. These are three schools that are all within a 20 minute drive of each other (Greensburg & North Decatur are literally on the opposite sides of 74).

According to the last enrollment numbers if all three of these schools combined they would have a student population of 1,278. This would make "Decatur County High School" a lot more competitive as a 4A school, maybe even a good team to play with Greensburg conference opponent East Central. In recent years South Decatur has had number issues and both North & South have had conference issues.

Other schools in southeastern Indiana that could benefit from this:

Milan + South Ripley + Jac-Cen-Del = "Ripley County High School" with 950 kids (South Ripley & Jac-Cen-Del do not have football teams)

Madison + Southwestern Hanover = "Jefferson County High School" with 1,114 kids (Southwestern Hanover doesn't have a football team)

Connersville + Union County = "Fayette-Union High School" with 1,374 kids

Switzerland County + Rising Sun = "Switz-Ohio High School" with 657 kids (Rising Sun doesn't have a football team)

Personally I think consolidation has a lot of benefits when it comes to the actual classroom and educational experience a student has. Small school generally means small resources. But when it comes to all the problems DT/HHF talks about I think this could be an answer. It creates schools with large enough enrollments to field football teams and gives even more kids opportunity to play football.

I don't have enough knowledge about other parts of the state but I'm sure there are similar situations across the state.

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38 minutes ago, Old Man High Pants said:

I'll repost here for those that didn't see it on the other contraction thread DT started 

Consolidation not Contraction

I know in the southeastern part of the state there are quite a few football programs that would benefit from this. Now I know school corporations make decisions based on a thousand other things then athletic programs but some of these smaller schools that are still out there I think would benefit from either consolidating with other small schools or a big school.

I think a great example of this would be the schools in Decatur County. Currently those include Greensburg, North Decatur & South Decatur. These are three schools that are all within a 20 minute drive of each other (Greensburg & North Decatur are literally on the opposite sides of 74).

According to the last enrollment numbers if all three of these schools combined they would have a student population of 1,278. This would make "Decatur County High School" a lot more competitive as a 4A school, maybe even a good team to play with Greensburg conference opponent East Central. In recent years South Decatur has had number issues and both North & South have had conference issues.

Other schools in southeastern Indiana that could benefit from this:

Milan + South Ripley + Jac-Cen-Del = "Ripley County High School" with 950 kids (South Ripley & Jac-Cen-Del do not have football teams)

Madison + Southwestern Hanover = "Jefferson County High School" with 1,114 kids (Southwestern Hanover doesn't have a football team)

Connersville + Union County = "Fayette-Union High School" with 1,374 kids

Switzerland County + Rising Sun = "Switz-Ohio High School" with 657 kids (Rising Sun doesn't have a football team)

Personally I think consolidation has a lot of benefits when it comes to the actual classroom and educational experience a student has. Small school generally means small resources. But when it comes to all the problems DT/HHF talks about I think this could be an answer. It creates schools with large enough enrollments to field football teams and gives even more kids opportunity to play football.

I don't have enough knowledge about other parts of the state but I'm sure there are similar situations across the state.

I could definitely get on board with consolidation especially if it provides not only opportunity but a more competitive environment. I imagine this could potentially add some logistical and economic nightmares but it's not the end of the world. Elkhart recently did this and sounds like it is already paying off in the athletic department.

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17 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

Elkhart recently did this and sounds like it is already paying off in the athletic department.

It depends on how you look at it. Are you more concerned with assembling an all-star team or offering more student athletes a chance to participate in an extra-curricular activity they love?

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1 minute ago, gonzoron said:

It depends on how you look at it. Are you more concerned with assembling an all-star team or offering more student athletes a chance to participate in an extra-curricular activity they love?

Guess it would depend. What were the participation #'s for the two Elkhart schools prior to consolidation? Have to think with consolidation you're really able to set up a freshman and JV squad and really look to develop players for the future. A lot of opportunities out there to grow a program with the right amount of numbers.

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7 hours ago, Old Man High Pants said:

I'll repost here for those that didn't see it on the other contraction thread DT started 

Consolidation not Contraction

I know in the southeastern part of the state there are quite a few football programs that would benefit from this. Now I know school corporations make decisions based on a thousand other things then athletic programs but some of these smaller schools that are still out there I think would benefit from either consolidating with other small schools or a big school.

I think a great example of this would be the schools in Decatur County. Currently those include Greensburg, North Decatur & South Decatur. These are three schools that are all within a 20 minute drive of each other (Greensburg & North Decatur are literally on the opposite sides of 74).

According to the last enrollment numbers if all three of these schools combined they would have a student population of 1,278. This would make "Decatur County High School" a lot more competitive as a 4A school, maybe even a good team to play with Greensburg conference opponent East Central. In recent years South Decatur has had number issues and both North & South have had conference issues.

Other schools in southeastern Indiana that could benefit from this:

Milan + South Ripley + Jac-Cen-Del = "Ripley County High School" with 950 kids (South Ripley & Jac-Cen-Del do not have football teams)

Madison + Southwestern Hanover = "Jefferson County High School" with 1,114 kids (Southwestern Hanover doesn't have a football team)

Connersville + Union County = "Fayette-Union High School" with 1,374 kids

Switzerland County + Rising Sun = "Switz-Ohio High School" with 657 kids (Rising Sun doesn't have a football team)

Personally I think consolidation has a lot of benefits when it comes to the actual classroom and educational experience a student has. Small school generally means small resources. But when it comes to all the problems DT/HHF talks about I think this could be an answer. It creates schools with large enough enrollments to field football teams and gives even more kids opportunity to play football.

I don't have enough knowledge about other parts of the state but I'm sure there are similar situations across the state.

How do you handle practice 4 days a week when there is so much travel involved?

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On 6/20/2022 at 12:56 PM, Bash Riprock said:

You actually started 2 threads on contraction at the same time?

Bobref and YG...where are you??

 

image.png.693066911223062d52b7a7bc9775d124.png

I need to get involved....  Haven't read the thread yet

 

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10 hours ago, DT said:

How do you handle practice 4 days a week when there is so much travel involved?

All of the schools I've listed are within twenty minutes of each other. I'm an East Central graduate, lived almost in Ohio, drove 25 minutes everyday to get to school, some of my teammates had further drives. Not asking anyone to make hour long commutes.

That and most of the schools I mention consolidating are in the same county. How do kids in Rush County all make it to Rushville High School? How do all the kids in Franklin County make it to Franklin County High School? How do all of the kids in Jennings County make it to Jennings County High School? 

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12 minutes ago, Old Man High Pants said:

All of the schools I've listed are within twenty minutes of each other. I'm an East Central graduate, lived almost in Ohio, drove 25 minutes everyday to get to school, some of my teammates had further drives. Not asking anyone to make hour long commutes.

That and most of the schools I mention consolidating are in the same county. How do kids in Rush County all make it to Rushville High School? How do all the kids in Franklin County make it to Franklin County High School? How do all of the kids in Jennings County make it to Jennings County High School? 

He's being pedantic. He wants schools to shut down their programs. That should have been your first sign. 

10 hours ago, DT said:

How do you handle practice 4 days a week when there is so much travel involved?

I'd imagine the same way they currently get home from practice...

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1 hour ago, Footballking16 said:

He's being pedantic. He wants schools to shut down their programs. That should have been your first sign. 

I'd imagine the same way they currently get home from practice...

Im all for team consolidation, not school consolidation.  If three schools can remain open and service their students, and combine three bad football programs into one good one, whats wrong with that?  

Logistics would be a big challenge but if they can overcome that, would love to see it happen.  

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3 minutes ago, DT said:

Im all for team consolidation, not school consolidation.  If three schools can remain open and service their students, and combine three bad football programs into one good one, whats wrong with that?  

Logistics would be a big challenge but if they can overcome that, would love to see it happen.  

Wouldn't team consolidation present the same travel issues you ascribed above? Wouldn't that actually cause a bigger problem?

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1 minute ago, Footballking16 said:

Wouldn't team consolidation present the same travel issues you ascribed above? Wouldn't that actually cause a bigger problem?

I cant imagine kids driving 30 minutes every day after school to go to a consolidated county football practice.  But I live in the city so what do I know.?  

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3 minutes ago, DT said:

I cant imagine kids driving 30 minutes every day after school to go to a consolidated county football practice.  But I live in the city so what do I know.?  

Right. 

So if two or three schools consolidated into one, they'd all be practicing at the same location. Problem solved. 

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8 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

Right. 

So if two or three schools consolidated into one, they'd all be practicing at the same location. Problem solved. 

Consolidating football teams for competitive reasons is a whole different concept than closing down county schools completely.  

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3 minutes ago, DT said:

Consolidating football teams for competitive reasons is a whole different concept than closing down county schools completely.  

No one is talking about consolidating football teams for competitive reasons.

The OP is talking about consolidating school districts that would in turn be able to offer more competitive athletic programs. Combing two or three rural high schools with 300-400 students isn't a novel idea and in fact has been happening for 50-60 years. It's more than practical. 

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