Wikipedia:WikiProject American football/Semi-professional football discussion

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For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Notability.

Welcome to the Semi-professional football discussion page!

This page is a "living essay" and has come about due to a relatively large number of articles for deletion discussions on semi-professional football teams and leagues.

There's no reason to accuse anyone of creating the large number of articles (the category shows well over 100) in bad faith. However, these articles need to be examined for notability, verifiability, and any other Wikipedia policy. Many of the articles have no independent reliable sources and only provide links to the team page or to the league discussion groups.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in this discussion. It's broken into two parts: General discussion and article-specifics. Please remember to remain WP:CIVIL and open to everyone's ideas.

Remember, the ultimate goal of this page and discussion is for Wikipedia to become better, specifically in the area of articles on semi-pro football. This means that if the articles can be fixed and sources added to be brough up to Wikipedia standards, that's great! If that is not possible, then the articles should be considered for removal.


Please feel free to add general discussion segments here.
  • Keep these pages!! Look, I understand the process for which Wikipedia wants references cited to prove the validity of these leagues and these teams and their importance. Let me give you a brief over view of some of the pages, including various teams and leagues, and their significance in the world of semi-pro football. Having played the sport in the same leagues and against the same teams in some instances, I can assure you that these are legitimate franchises and organizations. For example, the Racine Raiders are one of the longest running and most successful team in semi-pro football history. They play at historic Horlick Stadium and have won numerous national titles. The Mid-Continental Football League is also one of the longest running leagues in existence. With over 20 years of competition, they have fielded team such as the aforementioned Racine Raiders, along with the Kane County Eagles, the Detroit Seminoles, the Cleveland Lions, the Southern Michigan Timberwolves, the Indiana Mustangs, and the Louisville Bulls. The league, along with its existing members, is going through a change as they are merging with the newly formed Elite American Football League to form the new Elite MCFL. Now, while I do agree that some of these pages need cleaned up to meet Wikipedia standards, I can assure you they are worth keeping due to their historical standing within the semi-pro community. I urge the editors to use resources like myself to help with this process to keep these pages from being deleted! Thank you!--Mike Michelakis
    • Welcome Hey Michelakis! Glad you made it! Some of the issues I have with your reasoning are covered at WP:IKNOWIT, which basically applies here to mean that just because a team is well-known among semi-pro circles does not necessarily qualify that team for its own article on Wikipedia. Also, WP:OLDAGE covers that just because something has been around a while does not mean it is notable either. Specifically, just because something exists does not make it notable. What generally makes something notable is significant coverage in reliable sources. If any of these subjects have that information and that coverage, let's have it!--Paul McDonald (talk) 20:44, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Response While I do understand what you are saying with regards to notability, I still feel that each team which has been long running and successful deserves its own page, along with each league which has been successfully sustainable and productive over a long period of time. I believe that the Wikipedia editors need to look at contacting the original authors or owners of these pages, along with the actual owners and league commissioners for these semi-pro teams for the purposes of verifying information and for the suitability of what one would deem notable. Each person has an opinion of what is important to the world. The more information available, the better off Wikipedia is as an online encyclopedia.--Mike Michelakis
    • Issues there are two issues with that particular line of reasoning. The first one (which I think is inadvertent) is that according to policy WP:OWN, no one "owns" the articles--this is a collaborative effort. However, the enthusiastic editors on each page is welcome to continue to edit, collaborate, and discuss here or anywhere on Wikipedia (which I think is what you meant). The second issue is the suggestion to contact the team owners and league commissioners, which is a direct violation of the policy on original research WP:OR. Y'see, we at Wikipedia rely on those independent reliable sources for the information. Contacting the league/owners is not a bad thing and can add to an article (such as a coaches bio or player press releases) but if that's the only thing we can find it isn't enough--in other words, if it isn't published anyplace else, it shouldn't be published here.--Paul McDonald (talk) 15:16, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Problems While I do understand the rules and regulations of Wikipedia, this appears to be a personal vendetta against semi professional football. I see that the Mid Continental Football League page has already been deleted. This is ridiculus! If I were the original author, I would be pissed off! I am mad that we just lost information on one of the most storied leagues in minor league professional football history! If people would look closely and contact relaiable sources for published newspaper articles confirming the legitimacy of these teams, franchises, and leagues, then we wouldn't be having this problem. The major issue is that it takes extra work to research, link, and publish such articles. No one is getting paid to do this on here! If we were to get some sort of per diem for this work, then people would actually take the time to do a better job of this. That's the major issue here! Now, with that said, I hope and pray to God that no more of these pages are deleted and that the original author of the MCFL page recreates it so that it has it's standing in the semi pro football community!--Mike Michelakis
  • Appearances Oftentimes, editors (me included!) can become emotionally attached to articles on Wikipedia. This page was created to prevent such ill feelings. Please follow my understaing--it seems to me that you are saying you understand the rules and regulations and then follow that up to say you don't care about those rules (I'm paraphrasing here). If that's the case... hey, I can ignore rules if given a reason! What would be that reason?--Paul McDonald (talk) 14:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Nope, you're wrong! Look, it's not about being emotionally attached. It's about doing what's right and supporting those who are trying to do the right thing on here. Obviously, I was invited on here for discussion about semi pro ball and the MCFL. If you wanted the article cleaned up and supported with more references, all you had to do was ask. While I'm all for rules and regulations, I am also for helping contributing authors and enthusiasts. Trust me, I know how to write published articles and cite references as I have done for on Livestrong and eHow. However, if Wikipedia were paying me to do this, I would spend a lot more of my time cleaning up other people's messes on this subject matter. I added my knowledge to educate other (having a Ph.D.), but I simply don't have the time to edit things that don't fit into the WikiProject boxes of the world.--Mike Michelakis
  • MCFL Deletion The MCFL page was deleted because its AFD discussion pointed to that. The article suffered from a severe lack of reliable sources, contained significant original research, and failed to show that notability had been achieved. If you believe this was an incorrect closing, you can certainly raise the issue at WP:DRV--something I've done before and could guide you through (even though I disagree with your position). But re-creating a deleted article without going through the proper channels could be considered disruptive and could result in the editor's account being blocked.--Paul McDonald (talk) 14:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Big Mistake! Clearly, you deleted that page for your own personal reasoning behind it. The whole thing about it not being notable is a bunch of bologna! In the deletion process, you said that it had enough sources and original research, but lack citations for it's noteworthiness. Again, it you wanted to verify it's standing in the semi pro football community, then you should have done more research before deleting it. Instead, you choose to keep the USFA one up because it has scandal now that some of those teams are breaking off to form the new Elite MCFL. Trust me, this is being talked about on the MCFL Message Board. I suggest you man up and talk to those people who pour their heart and souls into the sport in order to better the game. With that said, I'm done talking about this because clearly Wikipedia editors will choose to pick what they think is improtant in their eyes as opposed to looking at what's really important in the arena for which various articles are being written.--Mike Michelakis
    • Paid? I'm still waiting for my check too! 1) I assume you mean United States Football Alliance and at your suggestion, I will nominate it for deletion promptly (I know nothing about any "scandal" but if there is one in the news, then it might add to the notability). 2) Where did I say anything had "enough original research" ? 3) Wikipedia doesn't care about a league's standing in the semi-pro community but it does care about the league's standing outside the semi-pro community. 4) Anyone is welcome to join the discussion here, but there is no reason for anyone to go to another discussion board somewhere else to discuss articles here. 5) People at other discussion boards are free to discuss it to their heart's content as far as I'm concerned. 6) It doesn't matter what I think is important, what you think is important, or what any one person thinks is important or even a small group of people thinks is important. What matters is what is notable-and that's a completely different question. 7) You're welcome to leave, you're welcome to stay. If you have any independent reliable sources to add to the pages, show them to me and I'll help you. Seriously.--Paul McDonald (talk) 14:43, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
    • Done Wasting my Time As someone else on another Wikipedia Talk board said regarding the merging of two subjects which were completely independent of each other, kind of like how we are discussing the deletion of these semi pro football pages, "Wikipedia is Stupid!" Enough said!--Mike Michelakis
    • I deleted? One other comment (more just for your information), I'm not an administrator on Wikipedia, just an editor. I couldn't delete any page if I wanted to because 1) I don't know how and 2) I don't have the system authority. All I can do is nominate for deletion and discuss. Someone else with authority needs to come along, agree that the page should be deleted, and then actually delete pages.--Paul McDonald (talk) 15:59, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
    • Thanks for Nothing Thanks for inviting me on this talk page just to waste my time and energy for nothing when the decision had already been made to get rid of valuable information re: the history and significance of the MCFL. I'm done talking about this!--Mike Michelakis
  • Hold up Yes, I'm generally for deleting the articles in question. However, there are around 18 or so of these articles in AFD right now. Having been on the receiving end of mass AFDs myself, I know this can be overwhelming to editors and runs the risk of being taken personally. Further, it runs the risk of missing important factors to consider and many articles could be deleted that otherwise could have been improved and kept. Let's complete the present existing AFDs first before adding any more. However, feel free to discuss potential future AFDs and articles here. Naturally, if an article in the discussion turns out to be a blatant violation of policy then it must be deleted immediately. But ask yourself if it is critical to send 100+ articles to AFD all at once, or if we should handle the ones we have now and discuss in advance before moving ahead.--Paul McDonald (talk) 15:15, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm not a sportsfan or particularly active at AFD, but I declined a number of these at speedy deletion which was presumably why I was invited here. The threshold for speedy deletion is much lower than at AFD - if a semi/pro team won a particular contest that is an unambiguous assertion of importance and it needs an AFD discussion to decide whether that makes a team notable. By contrast pub teams will rarely be notable and in my view would need a credible assertion of importance to avoid {{A7}}. However we shouldn't be deleting articles simply because the article lacks independent reliable sources, the test is whether such sources exist when one searches for them, not whether they are already in the article. That said if we don't already have a criteria for notability of teams we should try and create one, Wikipedia_talk:Notability (sports)/Archive 4#Notability of_Teams/Clubs was the most recent discussion at that level, and a notice at Wikipedia talk:Notability (sports) would not go amiss. WP:CLUB gives some useful input, and I would expect that teams have been relegated from more notable leagues would of course retain their notability - though one should expect the article to focus on the time when they were a contender. There is also an argument similar to High schools and populated places, that a team which has multiple players who have gone on to higher leagues and have become notable in their own right may be notable, as would be a team which has existed for a very long time. But the key is the General notability Guideline. ϢereSpielChequers 17:05, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Keep of all articles. No reason these pages or any semi pro pages need to be delete. These are legitimate teams and leagues and deserve some level of recognition. Granted not all pages are up to code, but references and websites with further information are sated. These pages should be fine. Rick lay95 (talk) 17:31, 10 December 2010 (UTC)rick_lay95
    • deserve level of recognition Hiya Rick! Glad you made it to this page! I'm not saying that the teams don't deserve recognition, I'm simply saying that they don't deserve recognition here in this encyclopedia. I would like to see work on a main article first on Semi-professional football. That might be a good place to back up and start to.--Paul McDonald (talk) 19:14, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete on all of them, unfortunately, as none of them have anything resembling significant coverage in independent third-party publications and therefore do not meet the general notability guidelines. Just because you have added some references and external links doesn't automatically mean that they connote significant or impartial coverage. Most of these articles only reference primary sources, such as their own website or message boards. As for promotions (deserved or otherwise), no one is entitled to free promotion on Wikipedia. It should also be noted that Rick_lay95 has an admitted conflict of interest here, as he's a member of one of these leagues. TheRealFennShysa (talk) 17:49, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
    • Comment I think that the user in question does have a conflict of interest. That said, I think the user is acting in good faith and I like user's enthusiasm. And it's not that all semi-pro teams are non-notable, especially historical ones like Allegheny Athletic Association in its early years. Wikipedia can benefit from enthusiastic editors, let's just make sure that we're all working together!--Paul McDonald (talk) 19:21, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Comments Clearly, what we have here it a thorny, multi-pronged issue. First, are the leagues notable? Second, are the teams notable? Third, how notable is notable? I know that some guidelines call for coverage "beyond the local area" (paraphrasing) - which is, to me, a profoundly bad idea and should probably be revisited; Wikipedia is WP:NOTPAPER and is supposed to contain "the sum total of human knowledge". But I may be digressing. Anyway, looking at the articles in question here, my thoughts are that a proposed guideline for semi-pro league coverage can be developed. Possibly saying:


This is a proposed guideline for establishing the notability of semi-professional sports leagues.

The following criteria should be considered when attempting to determine if a semi-pro league is notable. If the league:

  1. been around for 10 years or more, thus proving that it's not a fly-by-night deal;
  2. has teams located in more than one state;
  3. has verifiable coverage in third-party publications (newspapers and the like);

it's almost certainly notable. If it meets criterion 1 or 2 and 3, it's probably notable. If it only meets crierion 3, it's possibly notable. A league failing criterion 3, however, is most likely not notable even if it meets 1 and 2.


Under these criterion, the MidStates Football League meets 1, 2 and 3, and therefore I have no problem having a page on it (in fact, it's not at AfD - but its teams are, see later). The Mid Continental Football League, on the other hand, meets 1 and 2, but has a bit of a weaker 3 - two gBooks hits mention it, but both in passing (one in an appendix, the other is a "facts about cities" guide), no gnews hits, however a Googling does turn up a few newspaper stories as you sort through the chaff. So it's probably notable.

The Elite MCFL, on the other hand, as a stand-alone page, doesn't seem to be notable at all. Fails 1, of course, and 3 - there are no secondary sources on Google. At all. That said, seeing as the Elite AFL was only created just before the merger and never played any games, merging the Elite MCFL page to the MCFL's page would seem to be a completely logical act, thus preserving the information and, really, since the league seems to be just "the MCFL with a new name and a few new teams", that would probably be the way to go anyway.

Dragging in something not mentioned yet, the United States Football Alliance is another semi-pro league, dragged in by the fact the EAFL teams split off from it. Again, we have no gnews or gbooks hits, but there is news paper coverage, at least in passing. Not to mention scandal! So I'd call the USFL safe for meeting WP:SEMIPROFBALL, as I'll call it, criterion 2 and 3.

Now though we come to the other part of this discussion: the team pages. (And I'll toss the season pages into the mix as well). These are going to be much harder to establish as notable, especially "notable independent of the league" - most of the newspaper sources I've mentioned will probably be referring to local teams, with the league's notability/existiance being verified through that. In addition, many of the pages would never be able to be expanded beyond stubs anyway. For both teams and seasons in semi-pro football, therefore, I'd strongly suggest that their creation be discouraged in favour of their contents being placed in the league's main article, and accordingly I've voted merge on the team AfD submissions.

Anyway, that's my $2 worth. - The Bushranger One ping only 18:10, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

I'd drop the bit about teams in more than one state, otherwise you will get some completely insignificant leagues that just happen to straddle a state line. Best to stick to the general notability guideline. Though in terms of teams that get coverage, current and former league champions are liable to have had more coverage than less successful teams. ϢereSpielChequers 19:42, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I was going to suggest that also on the "two-state rule" -- we don't want to give a "free pass" to teams that may form in Ark City, Kansas and Ponca City, Oklahoma -- or simply across State Line Road in Kansas City.--Paul McDonald (talk) 20:58, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, I didn't mean it as one or two or three. Rather that 2 could be an additional factor in addition to 1 and, most importantly, 3 - e.g. it's not a super-local thing. - The Bushranger One ping only 21:13, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I think you meant a league should have teams in at least two different cities and actually play in those cities. If all the teams are in one city or all the games played on one field, it's basically a rec league, and those are definitely not notable. Mateinsixtynine (talk) 20:20, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

No real need for its own guideline, thinks like teams and leagues in all sports follow the WP:GNG, either they have 3rd party independent reliable sources or they don't. -DJSasso (talk) 14:13, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

yeah no need for new guidelines here, all minor leagues are not given notability unless they pass WP:GNG. By the way there is a gnews hit for the Mid continental league [1], the writer appears to be a staff writer of a reputable news station (it doesn't look like a blog). My guess is that the league is notable but that most of the teams are not MATThematical (talk) 17:56, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

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