Early Retirement (2018)

As we wait for the conferences to announce their predictions on the year and, of course, the matches to start, I went ahead and started to collect data on early retirement. Early retirement was the phrase Ned (our reader from New England) coined for non-seniors that left the team before their eligibility had expired. It was a lot of work just to look at last year versus this upcoming year so my data is limited.

We still have a few teams that have not published their 2018 rosters and some schools just have a roster of the returners (no freshmen listed). The schools without 2018 data (as of 8/20/18) are Lewis & Clark, Linfield, Pacific, Pacific Lutheran, Cal Lutheran, La Verne, Redlands, JWU (Denver) and Mills College. For the rest of the schools, I looked at the total number of 2017 non-seniors no longer listed on the 2018 roster. The percentage is from the total roster in 2017 (including seniors).

Schools with 50% or greater early retirement:

  • Louisiana College (10 retirements) – 58.8%
  • UMHB (8) – 53.3%
  • Howard Payne (7) – 50%

Just to throw some disclaimers in…early retirements are not necessarily a bad thing. Unless you are tied to the school or the student-athletes, we don’t really know the reasons. Injury is probably the big one as is finances. Early graduation is another. I’ve seen cases where a student-athlete has graduated in 3-years and we’ve probably all seen a case where a student-athlete has an extra year of eligibility due to a previous injury but graduated with her class. Some student-athletes just don’t want to deal with the grind or want to pursue their studies or just realized that they weren’t going to get the playing time they wanted. With all of that said, the sinister side of our world would probably look at these statistics and think it’s a coach forcing out the student-athlete. Again, just not the case in the majority of the time.

What’s interesting about these three teams is that UMHB had a really successful season while HPU and LC struggled. Ned had published some statistics about early retirement and how it appears schools with worse records tend to rely on freshmen and sophomores more than teams with good records. I know that UMHB is returning most of their starters so this wouldn’t get flagged in Ned’s statistics as an anomaly. As I collect this data over the years, it will be interesting to see how these numbers change per school.

Schools with 25% or greater early retirement:

  • Texas Lutheran (5) – 27.8%
  • UC Santa Cruz (4) – 25%

Both of these schools share one interesting thing in common and that is a coaching change this year. I find it surprising if there was a relationship but it’s another thing to look out for as I collect more data. Also, Santa Cruz is a University of California campus so I would expect the ability to transfer to other UC campuses is an issue they may have to face.

Here are the numbers for the top teams in the West Region that had published their rosters:

  • Southwestern (4) – 23.5%
  • UT-Dallas (4) – 23.5%
  • Chapman (4) – 22.2%
  • Trinity (2) – 13.3%
  • CMS (2) – 9.1%
  • Whittier (1) – 5.6%
  • Colorado College (1) – 5.3%

Kind of across the board with this group. Regardless of the reasoning, for the most part, I believe the lower your percentage, the better your teams is going to be going into the next year. So, red flags for Southwestern, UT-Dallas and Chapman while the other four look to be in really good shape.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the schools with 0% early retirement. They include McMurry, Sul Ross State, Caltech, Pomona-Pitzer and Centenary. These are the schools where I could confirm their rosters based on what they have published. McMurry is my dark horse in the ASC this year and a strong returning team was one of the reasons. The same holds true with Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC. Sul Ross has a large roster so it’s sort of impressive to me that they return everyone they can despite having a bad year. If we see improvement from them over the next couple of years we may need to circle back to this statistic and see how it helped. Impressed (again) with the Caltech team. It’s not easy taking your lumps in the SCIAC but the entire team seems to be returning. Centenary has been on the rise in the SCAC and this is just another building block for them.

As I went through the teams, I obviously took note of the number of the roster sizes and which teams had transfers coming in. I’ll share some of this data in a future “Musing” post.

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