Tag Archives: Football

The Atlantic Explores Whether Football Is Good for Colleges

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This year’s college football bowl games will finish a season defined by scandal. After the scandals (and crimes) at Ohio State, Miami, and Penn State, The Atlantic wondered if college football is really good for colleges. Here are some findings.

Does college football make schools richer or poorer? Answer: It enriches only the powerhouses.

The media focuses on powerhouses, but those teams are just of a larger picture. In August, the NCAA released a financial breakdown of college athletics. Half of the teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision generated a profit from football, with a median gain of $9.1 million. The median loss of programs stuck in the red was $2.9 million.

A dozen studies have probed the claim that alumni give more when football teams win, but the jury’s still out. A 2004 study by University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Irvin Tucker found that better records and bowl appearances could boost alumni giving by 1% over six years. A 2001 paper, however, found no such relationship.

In 2003, Brad Humphreys looked at the relationship between gridiron glory and state appropriations. Winning teams received more generous treatment. “A successful football season might increase state appropriations by 5% to 8% in the following year, and a team with a respectable losing record might garner a 2% to 4% increase, other things equal,” he concluded.

Former Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag was part of a team commissioned by the NCAA to analyze the impact of athletic spending on colleges. His study found that spending more on football didn’t lead to a more profitable team. It also didn’t lead to more alumni giving.

Is football good for a school’s reputation? Winning teams could lead to more applications and higher rankings.

Schools view their football programs as billboards. A big win on the field can even lead to a surge in applications. The phenomenon is called the Flutie Effect.

In a highly regarded study, a team from Virginia Tech looked at how winning affected applications at big time football and basketball schools. Football programs that finished in the AP Top 20 saw 2.5% more applications the next year. A national championship drove between 7-8% more.

In 2010, a group of researchers investigated the effect of football success on a school’s peer assessment score in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings. Finishing strong in the year-end rankings could have the same effect as a forty-two point boost in SAT scores.

Is football bad for academics? Winning teams are bad for grades but good for graduation rates.

In terms of academics, football is a mixed blessing for universities. In a working paper released this month, professors from the University of Oregon tracked how (all) students’ grades were influenced by the school’s football success. The results weren’t pretty. When Oregon won more, men’s grades dropped relative to women’s. When they lost, men’s grades recovered.


In 1992, University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Irvin Tucker found that graduation rates were lower at schools with strong football traditions. His findings were challenged. In 2003, Patrick Rishe of Webster University published a paper finding no link between sports success and graduation rates. One year later, a pair from the University of Southern Mississippi found that a better football team improved freshman retention rates.

Via The Atlantic.

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Penn State G.A. Who Saw Abuse Placed on Administrative Leave

Mike McQueary coaching from the sideline

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The Penn State assistant who told head coach Joe Paterno about Jerry Sandusky‘s child sex abuse in 2002 has been placed on administrative leave.

Mike McQueary‘s leave is “indefinite,” said President Rodney Ericson. McQueary, a graduate assistant in 2002 and now the wide receivers coach, told a grand jury he had witnessed Sandusky, then the defensive coördinator, sexually assaulting a boy in a shower at the campus football complex.

The scandal has led to the departure of four top university figures, including Paterno, amid scrutiny over their perceived failure to contact police.


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Oakland Raiders Owner Dies at 82

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Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, died today, the team said on its website. He was 82.

Davis was part of professional football for six decades. He joined the Raiders in 1963. Since then, the team has had twenty-eight winning seasons and won three Super Bowl championships.

Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Boy Returns Super Bowl Ring to The Fridge

A Pittsburgh-area 10-year-old boy took $8,500 from his college savings account to buy William “The Refrigerator” Perry‘s Super Bowl XX ring and then give it back to Perry.

The boy, Cliff Forrest Jr. purchased the ring after seeing it at Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant in New York.

Perry, formerly of the Chicago Bears, put the ring up for auction in 2007.

After buying the ring, Forrest heard about Perry’s battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Forrest then set out to return the ring.

Forrest flew to Chicago, met Perry, and handed him the ring. In return, Perry gave him two signed jerseys with the note “The Fridge, Thanks!” and five signed football cards.

A sports collection website notes that the ring sold three years ago at auction for $27,000 and probably would not have depreciated that much since then. Nonetheless, even if Forrest gave Perry back a replica, we can see that the kid has a lot of heart – and, I hope, a large college savings account.

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