Intercollegiate athletics and student college choice: Exploring the impact of championship seasons on undergraduate applications

J. Douglas Toma, Michael E. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Among large universities, success in high-profile intercollegiate athletics appears to be one factor among several in the college choice process for aspiring undergraduates. Winning a national championship in one of the two most visible college sports - football and men's basketball - is routinely accompanied by significant positive attention for an institution. That attention appears to translate into increases in applications received for undergraduate admission in subsequent admissions cycles. We compared year-to-year and multiyear changes in the number of applications submitted following winning a national championship with changes in parallel sets of data from peer institutions that did not experience a championship, thereby isolating athelitic success as a factor in the college choice process. We found that notable increases generally occured in admission applications received - both in absolute terms but more importantly relative to peer schools - in the years following the championship season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-661
Number of pages29
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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