14 Aug

Geographical Review Preview: An Analysis Of The Geographic Origins and Migration Patterns of Elite College Football Players

John Rooney’s (1969) seminal geographical work on the origins of U.S. college football players showed how a comprehensive examination of player origins could be analyzed and presented. This study utilizes Rooney’s findings to compare changes in the origin and migration patterns 50 years after his work. The hometowns of 14,937 elite high school football players recruited to play for “Power 5” schools between 2010 and 2020 are analyzed. The findings reveal that substantially more elite players now originate in the southern states and migrate into areas that underproduce elite talent. The methods and results of this study contribute to the merging research fields of sports management and sports geography on geographic patterns and the migration of athletes and how they can change over periods of time.

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