Thursday, September 28, 2006

Football Attrition

While the new graduation rate progress report from the NCAA is catching the headlines, I found this interesting from David Glenn about one of the primary reasons for UNC's problems on the football field:

Bunting basically has a hole in the middle of his program. He has lost so many players via attrition, for so many different reasons, that he finds himself playing catch-up in terms of personnel on an annual basis. There are basically two ways to build a winning program in the new ACC: (1) consistently recruit significantly better talent than everyone else, a la Florida State or Miami, and/or (2) consistently recruit "good enough" talent, then retain it, develop it and coach it up on game day, a la Boston College and Georgia Tech. (Virginia Tech and Clemson are combining #1 and #2 pretty well right now.) Under Bunting, the Tar Heels have accomplished neither goal.

According to statistics compiled by the ACC Sports Journal and, only one ACC school (Duke) lost more scholarship players over a recent three-year period (spring 2003 through spring 2006) via early attrition than the Tar Heels. The "early attrition" numbers — more than 30 over those three years, in UNC's case — include anyone who left the program with eligibility remaining. On a league-wide basis, the most common reasons for premature departures are transfers, dismissals (academic and/or disciplinary), career-ending injuries, early NFL entries and sport switches, plus veteran reserves who choose to graduate with eligibility remaining rather than return for an additional season of little or no playing time.