Troubled football player to be saved by move to the suburbs

It could be the content of an urban sociology Onion article: ESPN reports that Johnny Manziel is showing progress by leaving the city for the suburbs.

Johnny Manziel is taking a positive step since checking out of a rehab facility in early April.

The Browns quarterback has moved out of his downtown Cleveland apartment and into a golf course community in a suburb west of town, according to a source.

Golf has been a constructive outlet for Manziel since his return, the source said…

The QB’s old home, the Metropolitan at The 9, was the site of an alleged Nov. 22 assault of a fan by a member of Manziel’s “entourage” at 2:36 a.m. Manziel was not listed as a suspect, and the fan, Chris Gonos, later apologized publicly. Manziel said shortly after the incident that the fan aggressively approached him.

Like many white millennials or young professionals before him, Manziel had his bachelor days in the city but now has decided to take up golf and live a more conservative life amidst the big houses and greenery of the suburbs. No word yet on whether he will add the frustration of commuting into the city to his list of issues facing him on a daily basis.

Needed in discussion of NFL draft picks: how well they make “sociological adjustments”?

A columnist suggests a new piece to consider when projecting the career of someone selected in the NFL draft:

Nobody knows how these players will pan out because there are too many variables: Injuries, character, sociological adjustments, growth mentally and physically, determination, etc.

The talk leading up to and during the NFL draft is fairly consistent. There are several things to hash over for weeks: physical measureables (which consists of fawning over those with higher ratings with a few suggestions that these may not matter that much), productivity in college (always fun to compare relative successes across games, conferences, and years), and what need a draftee can fill for a NFL team.

But how might the analysts incorporate the “sociological adjustments” a player needs to make? Perhaps we need something far beyond the Wonderlic test which supposedly measures something; we need some measure of how players adapt to new cities, teammates, coaches, locker rooms, and the better gameplay on the NFL field. There could be several ways to do this: have NFL teams hire sociologists who can assess the social skills and adaptability of players. There could be a sort of Survivor type competition for potential draftees before the draft that would allow observers to see how they adjust to changing situations, their social abilities, and how they can perform in mental competition. Don’t you think the NFL Network would love to have some reality TV involving known players?

My guess is that we are a long way from such scenarios yet some of this surfaces when teams and analysts talk about “character.” What they really mean is something more like whether the player can stop himself from getting into trouble long enough to focus solely on football. Wouldn’t teams like to unlock some sort of formula or predictive ability that would help them know which players can avoid these situations better than others? Or perhaps they would want to quantify or measure the idea of “glue guys” or “positive locker room guys” that would help their teams win?

The majors of college football players; sociology 2nd

The Wall Street Journal decided to examine the majors of “major-college” college football players (though the same story says the sample is “BCS week-one football starters”). The top two majors are business and sociology:

Only six of the 1,104 players whose majors we found were interested in art, music or film, but sociology-related topics (134 majors) and business (155) piqued their interest. An additional 108 students are majoring in a communications-related field, while only two apiece are studying architecture and mathematics. English, one of the more common majors among all college students, drew only four football players—two more than the number of players majoring in zoology. And only one player, Oregon’s Mark Asper, is studying Spanish, the lone foreign language major we found.

Some results were expected—79 players are majoring in athletics and health-related fields—but there were some rarities like fisheries and wildlife (Curtis Hughes, Minnesota) and recreation and leisure studies (Luke Stocker, Tennessee). Some majors seemed extra popular at specific schools, like the 16 starters at Georgia Tech who are majoring in management. (A team spokesman says it’s not easier than other majors, it’s just “really popular.”)

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this count is somewhat representative of college football players. Three questions come to mind:

1. So are the top majors on this list considered easier by many players? I wonder what the colleges would say about this.

2. How many players end up in a career (after they stop playing football) related to/close to their major?

3. Considering some of the concerns about graduation rates at BCS schools, I want to know whether certain majors of football players have a higher proportion of players who don’t complete their degree.