The American Game: The Geography of College Football Player Production and Program Success, 2020

Authors: Theodore Goudge*, Northwest Missouri State
Topics: Recreational and Sport Geography, Cultural Geography, United States
Keywords: college football, player production, regionalization, sport geography
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 52
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


America is often perceived as a sporting nation. Perhaps no other cultural component has played a bigger role in shaping today’s perception of America than sports. In particular, college football often receives considerably more media coverage than so many other aspects of culture in general. This includes political, economic, social, educational and environmental issues. Most of that coverage is devoted to major college or the FBS level of college football. Much work by geographers has been conducted on the geography of major college football player production and program success. To a lesser extent, FCS and NCAA Div. II levels have been researched. However, little research exists on the other facets or groupings of college football such as NCAA Div. III, NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association). What about the geographical distribution of these college football organizations? The purpose of this project is to analyze present (2020) geographical patterns of college football player production and program success over more of the various organizational levels. The football players, numbering in excess of 55,000, are mapped by state, hometown/high school (origin) and college/conference affiliation (destination). In addition, player groupings by position are analyzed and mapped. Program success was determined by attendance, poll rankings, win-loss percentages, and post-season success. The resulting maps provide insight into the regionalization of football involvement based on organizational groupings and comparisons drawn from the earlier work regarding the geography of college football.

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