Returns for a Touchdown? Universities Entering College Football
22 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 17, 2016
Between 2004 and 2014, 50 colleges have started football teams. The expansion of college football, both in terms of new locations and spending at existing programs, can be attributed in part to the belief that athletic success brings other benefits, including increases in donations, student applications, enrollment and student quality (Humphreys and Mondello 2007; Smith 2009; Tucker and Amato 1993). However, is this true for colleges with no football tradition? Given the upfront costs and long odds of on field success, is implementation of a football team enough to expect beneficial outcomes? We analyze a sample of colleges that started football programs in the last decade against a control group without the sport in order to test the short-term benefits of starting a team. Results show that while there is an immediate increase in applications to the college, the quality and retention of students declines.
Keywords: College football; college athletics; academic success
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