2003 September 09 Tuesday
Winning Basketball Teams Lead To College Drop-Outs

Successful college and university basketball teams have the effect of reducing graduation rates by distracting students from their studies.

University of Arkansas researchers report that universities with highly successful basketball programs experience reduced graduation rates as a direct result of their team's athletic prowess. This means that even as teams battle to win the championship title, their home institutions may be suffering a significant loss.

UA sociology professor Doug Adams and professor emeritus William Mangold have conducted a statistical analysis of 97 major Division IA universities. Their research examines the impact of intercollegiate athletic success on overall institutional graduation rates and appears in the September/October issue of The Journal of Higher Education.

Numerous studies have analyzed the graduation rates of student athletes and debated the emphasis placed on academic and athletic success. However, the University of Arkansas study represents the first detailed examination of how specific sports - football and basketball - each impact overall graduation rates.

"Current student retention theories tell us that a strong athletic program brings students together, that it fosters school spirit, pride and solidarity in the institution and that this leads to greater retention and higher graduation rates. That's not what our results showed," Adams said.

While football appeared to have a slight positive impact on overall graduation rates, the data showed a much stronger negative correlation to successful basketball programs. As teams scored more and more victories, net graduation rates dropped.

Why is basketball worse? It uses up more time of undergrads.

According to the researchers, football attracts a larger alumni crowd while basketball games are more popular among the students. In addition, basketball teams play more games during the season, and games are more likely to be held during the school week. As basketball continues to gain popularity, its impact on academics grows.

If some school wanted to get more serious about academics (the supposed reason that institutions of higher education exist) they'd drop their basketball program. But it seems pretty safe to bet against that happening.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 September 09 02:09 PM  Human Nature


Comments
Michael Tinkler said at September 15, 2003 6:18 PM:

Wonderful! Thanks for spotting this and bringing it to (at least my) attention.


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