The Sports Analysis Collective (SAC) at UC Irvine is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting sports conversation in an academic setting.
There is a traditional dichotomy that dominates sports discourse – wins versus losses. We are wired (or have we been wired?) to imagine sports in this binary system; adding up the 1s and 0s to determine impact in and out of the game. But are the games we love so simple? Are the teams that matter only the ones that hoist a trophy at the end? Are the players who assault our imaginations with acrobatics and grit nothing more than what we see on the box-score?
At the Sports Analysis Collective (SAC) we don’t think so. Wins and losses, touchdowns and assists, goals and RBI – they only tell so much, painting a skewed and distorted vision of players, teams, and organizations. The sabremetric revolution in the 90s for baseball and the recent surge of advanced statistics filtering into basketball and football in the last decade have given us new tools through which we can dissect on-court production. Changes in the ways teams are constructed, collective bargaining agreements are drafted, and the handling of expansion have created an exceedingly volatile socio-economic landscape. Paradigmatic shifts that have affected the way identity politics are understood and mobilized, as well as twist the framework of the aesthetic/functionality dynamic have given us new perspectives from which to view intra/inter-relationships in sports. The advancements in information and precision have allowed for more extensive renderings of the different facets of sports. Sure, the portrayals are still incomplete, but progress is being made.
We at SAC want to build a community for those interested in the innovation of sports analysis. We want to create an environment conducive to those salivating at the thought of losing themselves within the jungles of untamed information. For there is a new, uncharted frontier beckoning to us in the sports world. What will we find? A revelation that will overturn years of common sense? Maybe data that justifies the position of the old guard? Or perhaps all that awaits us is noise? However, there is one thing we can be sure about – We Need to Go Deeper.