What I learned about football at the Southwest Elite 7 on 7 conference

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What I’m about to share is probably really obvious to a ton of you and you’re probably going to wonder where my head’s been the last 35 years that this was new to me.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, I attended the Southwest Elite 7 on 7 Conference in Springdale on behalf of Collective Bias. I summarized the weekend already, but wanted to come back and highlight a few aspects I found the most interesting.

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Today’s lesson is all about football. I knew football is a big deal, and I even know a little bit about the game. What I found fascinating was all the businesses that are made possible because of the sport (I’m sure other sports too, but this is about football).

Let me just highlight the ones I found most fascinating:

Cool football stuff

I admit to being a bit mesmerized by the cool stuff that NCSA had at the event. NCSA is an organization that (in my own words) helps student athletes connect with college coaches and recruiters so they can find the best college experience for their needs. Athletes fill out a profile and then the staff at NCSA can use their network of coaches, etc. to find some good prospects. From what I understand, the information includes everything from the athlete’s sports statistics to their academic interests.

What had me so interested was this tool:

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This NCSA Verified ID is something the organization offers student athletes to prove that their personal statistics are accurate and correct. The stats include height, weight, grad year, position, etc. This is so recruiters know that the information hasn’t been fudged to give the athlete an unfair advantage. It seems to me that it helps out all the honest athletes and high school coaches overcome a problem that was created by a few dishonest ones.

 

 

Another cool thing I saw at the Southwest Elite was the communications devices from Coach Comm. Let me be clear: I was aware that football coaches where those headsets on their head during games to communicate with… whomever it is that they are talking to. It just never occurred to me that there would be an entire company designed to sell the devices. Where did I think they got them before, Radio Shack? I never really thought about it before.

Here’s a pic

I might kinda want one of these. No idea who I would talk to but I want one.
I might kinda want one of these. No idea who I would talk to but I want one.

 

There was a lot of cool stuff at the event but those two features really stuck out in my mind.

The actual game of football

I also learned a little bit about football, at least the 7 on 7 type tournaments. These tournaments are designed to let high school players keep up their skills through the summer and for teams to showcase some of their top players for college recruiters. I noticed that the games were a little different than what I see on TV so I finally got brave enough and asked a few strangers some (strange) questions. Here’s a summary of what I learned:

  • Pool play at a 7 on 7 tournament refers to the schedule of all the teams playing to narrow it down to the finals. It has absolutely nothing to do with swimming (yeah, I’m actually admitting to misunderstanding that one). 
  • The players in 7 on 7 don’t wear pads because it’s touch football, not tackle football. I still saw some pretty impressive injuries, though! 
  • All the players wear the same uniforms. Well, there’s a light and a dark team but each light and dark team wore the same shirts. I think this has to do with high school activity rules about representing the school team outside the season but I am not sure. 
  • A “down” in touch football is 15 yards, not 10 yards. The guy who told me this explained that it’s because you don’t have people trying to tackle you. 
  • 7 on 7 games are 30 minutes long each. 

Coming soon: Why I owe Tim Tebow an apology.