Friday, March 13, 2009

Costs of unraveling: elementary school basketball players

One of the costs of "unraveling," in which transactions come to be made increasingly early, is that matches are made on the basis of very noisy information. I've posted earlier about the competition by colleges for basketball players (Market for (seventh grade) basketball players ), and a recent story highlights just how noisy those early signals can be: First Impressions Can Create Unrealistic Expectations for Recruits .

"Amid the clamor to find the next basketball wunderkind, the evaluation of sixth graders remains an uncertain pursuit. Francis, who runs the Hoop Scoop recruiting service, said the process involved much guesswork.
The players can stop improving, stop caring or stop growing." (emphasis added: the source of uncertainty is different in different markets:)

"In January, the N.C.A.A.lowered the school year a basketball player was considered a prospect from ninth grade to seventh grade.
Though the change seemed curious, it closed a loophole that had allowed college coaches to gain a recruiting edge by inviting middle school players to private camps. Those middle school prospects are now protected by the N.C.A.A. the same way as high school recruits.
For now, elementary school students are not included in this new rule. An associate commissioner of the Big East, Joseph D’Antonio, the chairman of the N.C.A.A.’s legislative council, hopes there is no need to change that.
“I think the seventh- and eighth-grade endpoint is a place to begin, because that’s where the problem has been identified,” D’Antonio said. “Whether or not we see bylaws in the future that lower the age even further is going to be driven by what the coaching involvement is.”"

HT Muriel Niederle

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