📑 How private schools have taken over the AFL

Bookmarked How private schools have taken over the AFL (The Age)

Research shows boys who go to a private school are almost four times more likely than those educated in the government system to be on an AFL list. The national draft will reinforce the trend.

In light of Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson going 1 and 2 in the AFL draft, Jake Niall discusses the transition to private-schooled football as the dominant pathway to the AFL. He discusses the work of Professor John Funder in investigating the origin for all male players on AFL lists.

Funder got the AFL’s school breakdown. Of 787 AFL footballers in 2019 – 99.7 per cent of the total – the carve-up was: government schools 29.86 per cent, Catholic schools 31.38 per cent, independent 38.76 per cent. Thus, he concluded, your chances of playing AFL are almost four times higher if you went to an independent school than a state school and almost three times higher if you went to a Catholic school.The independent number would be even higher if he had counted the Xavier and St Kevin equivalents in Perth and Adelaide as “independent” rather than Catholic. Funder was surprised, but he shouldn’t have been.

This has all turned into an arms race that is driven by money and scholarships. Subsequently, this has created a two tiered system of those in the APS system and those not:

More than one AFL club recruiter has compared the APS, in particular, to American college football and basketball. While a tiny fraction of the size of those billion-dollar enterprises, private school football has college football-like traits: aggressive recruiting, extensive coaching and, not least, the pride engendered through winning games, premierships or when their students are drafted.

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