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The All-American Quota

0 - Published July 20, 2009 by in High School

us-lacrosse1Laxpower recently posted the list of this year’s US Lacrosse’s All-American recipients, the highest individual award any high school player can achieve.  That said, many of you don’t know how these guys are chosen.  Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a high school All-American selection process, and I’ve recapped it in the form of an interview with myself.

What makes you worthy of helping select high school All-Americans?

I coach lacrosse in Idaho.

Seriously?

Yup!  It would be nearly impossible for US Lacrosse to individually select All-Americans from across the country.  Imagine trying to evaluate the tens of thousands of nominations that would undoubtedly come in every year.  Therefore, they delegate the process to the regional chapters.

There isn’t a standard process from chapter to chapter?

Nope, the “area chairperson” for each region gets to coordinate the voting, meaning they can do it in whatever way works for them.

But how do they know how many All-Americans will come out of each chapter?

They assume…based on the number of high school teams compete in a given chapter’s high school league.  A chapter is awarded one All-American for every five teams, and one Academic All-American for every ten teams.

What if a chapter has five schools, but none of them have a legit All-American candidate?

They get one All-American.

What if a chapter has five schools, and there are FIVE legit All-American candidates?

They get one All-American.

So you have a better chance of earning All-American honors if your league isn’t all that good?

Well that’s kind of a pessimistic way of looking at it, but yeah, I guess so.

Back to your involvement.  Why does being a coach allow you to take part in the selection process?

The coaches in our conference choose two All-Americans from twelve first team all-conference award recipients.

Coaches vote?

Kind of, but it can more accurately be described as lobbying.  The head coach from each team is invited to a meeting.  Before the meeting can be adjourned, two players need to be selected from the twelve candidates.  The process is left up to the coaches in the room.

So where does the lobbying come in to play?

Every coach who has a player in consideration is given an opportunity to explain why they believe their guy should get the bid.  It can get pretty passionate.

Does the process work?

So far, I think it’s picked the best two candidates on a yearly basis.  The votes generally aren’t all that close.  There have been a couple of heated debates over the last of the two awards, but there is usually one or two kids that really stand out.

Do you have any idea if other chapters use a similar process?

I couldn’t tell you.  Like I said, it’s left up to the chapters.  I’m sure there are more formal ways of doing it, but this seems to work for Idaho.

Have any of your players ever won?

One time.  We’re all very proud.

Final thoughts?

In all, I think the process makes sense.  Are there politics in it?  Yes.  Do I think the best players will always be selected?  No.  Do we always deserve two All-Americans?  No, but there have been years where we’ve deserved more than two.  It’s not perfect, but it’s efficient.