Fantasy Football & STEM Stats

We always tell kids that they should work hard in school because an on-field career in professional sports is such a long-shot.  Looking at some data today and it appears it’s more likely for an African-American male to end up in the NFL each year than to earn a doctorate in a STEM discipline.  When you’re watching the playoffs this weekend, or the next time someone tells you that things in education are going swimmingly and all this reform talk is just about [insert conspiracy theory here], think about that and the diversity challenge it represents.  Bellwether works with 100K in 10, one initiative working to address the disparities and the STEM challenge.

6 Replies to “Fantasy Football & STEM Stats”

  1. That’s a pretty catchy statistic, but I’m not sure I agree. The table you link to doesn’t have gender, but using the NSF tabulation engine to create a table by race, gender, and field suggests 439 African-American males earned doctorates in a STEM field in 2010 (2011 not available on the engine).

    That seems to me to be the equivalent of being drafted into the NFL. (The count of all NFL players would be the equivalent of the count of all people working in STEM with PhDs, not just those getting degrees in a single year.) So, how many African-American players got drafted in 2010? Well, the total count of players drafted is 214. In that year, 67% of total players were African-American, so maybe 145 drafted players were African-American.

    So, 439 is still horribly low, but it is 3 times 145… am I looking at the wrong numbers?

  2. Hi –

    Great push, thanks! I was working off a different (lower) # of doctorates, 275. And a higher # of NFL 1st year players (although same demographic percentage you have) because there are a lot of undrafted players, it’s not they only way in (but I have no idea if they skew one way or another though I doubt it, I ascribed that 67 percent to everyone).

    But yes, a bad situation regardless. We may have to call the Daly Brothers back to settle it all for sure:,8599,2045812,00.html


  3. And, teachers deserve just as much blame for those numbers as all of the other coaches do for the low number of their kids who make it in the NFL.

    On the other hand, it is just a relatively small number of school reformers who have posioned the well as much as Daly, Rhee, Klein and their buddies have. So, maybe we should call this entire outliers game off.

  4. That’s something that caught hold of my attention. The students who make it to NFL are hard workers and if you watch them practicing, then you would get to know about the reason for there talent. The work hard attitude pays in every field and provides better end results.

  5. You also have to consider the undrafted free agents and perhaps, depending your definitition of “making” the NFL, the practice squad.

    That number, subtracting the draftees who were cut, probably brings you closer to 200 than 145.

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