What Does Intercollegiate Athletics Do to or for Colleges and Universities?

Malcolm Getz and John Siegfried

in The Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387773
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

What Does Intercollegiate Athletics Do to or for Colleges and Universities?

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  • Economics
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  • Public Economics



This chapter describes the peculiarly American phenomenon of colleges and universities sponsoring organized athletic competitions against each other. It then reviews available evidence on the returns to universities from supporting big-time televised college sports, including effects on government support, philanthropy, admissions, and on students themselves. The literature on college sports offers little guidance on how to produce winners. Evidence correlating university donations to athletic success reveals only half the effects of a resource reallocation. There is some evidence that the presence and success of intercollegiate athletics at colleges and universities may increase the applicant pool, and possibly may improve the academic credentials of the student body of institutions which win national championships. A lot of anecdotes and marketing hype are devoted to the prospect that winning university sports teams stimulate private donations to the successful schools.

Keywords: intercollegiate athletics; colleges; universities; athletic competitions; government support; philanthropy; admissions; students

Article.  10929 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Industry Studies ; Public Economics

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