Mercer Professor, Colleagues Launch Web Site Predicting Football Recruits’ College Choices

January 25, 2008

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON, Ga. — Looking for a little insight on where that top recruit might be heading next year? Mercer University economics professor Allen K. Lynch, Ph.D., along with two colleagues, will launch a Web site - http://ssbea.mercer.edu/lynch/CFRPM.htm - today with predictions for the top 250 players in this year’s prep football recruiting class. The predictions are based on an econometric model the trio has been developing over the past several years.

Lynch, an associate professor of economics and quantitative methods at the Stetson School of Business and Economics of Mercer University, developed the model with colleagues Mike DuMond, Ph.D., a research economist for ERS Group Inc., of Tallahassee, Fla., and Jennifer Platania, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Elon University in North Carolina. The trio published its work this week in The Journal of Sports Economics, in an article entitled, “An Economic Model of the College Football Recruiting Process.”

For the 2007 signing class, the group’s predictions proved to be 71 percent accurate for the Rivals.com top 100 recruits. This year, the economists examine the top 250 recruits ahead of the 2008 national signing day on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The results from previous years have provided some interesting results, Lynch and his coauthors concluded.

“There were a number of factors that we thought would significantly effect the decision of the high school athlete but didn’t,” Lynch said. “For example, factors like the school’s graduation rate, the number of Bowl Championship Series 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.”

According to the results, the recruits prefer winning programs that are close to home, are have good facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA.  However, reduced scholarships increase the likelihood of choosing a particular school, holding all else constant.  The authors concluded that this is likely because reduced scholarships imply reduced competition for exposure and playing time in the future.

To develop the model, the authors used statistical software developed by SAS and data provided by Rivals.com (a national website dedicated to college football and recruiting).  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 four schools.  A wide array of player- and team-level data was 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.

About the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer:
Established in 1984, the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics is the largest school within Mercer University, with more than 1,100 students in its bachelor’s, MBA, Professional MBA and Executive MBA programs. The School holds accreditation from the prestigious AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, considered the hallmark of excellence among the nation’s top business schools and placing it among the top 25 percent of all business schools in the world.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
www.mercer.edu.

About ERS Group:
ERS Group is an economic and financial consulting firm that specializes in analyses for complex business litigation, matters involving employment decisions, and regulation.  Over 3,000 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, universities, industry trade associations and government agencies, have retained ERS Group professionals in a wide variety of cases involving numerous industries. For more information, visit
www.ersgroup.com
 
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