NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?

Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen, Glen R. Waddell

NBER Working Paper No. 17677
Issued in December 2011
NBER Program(s):   ED   PE

We consider the relationship between collegiate-football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team's success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades. This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17677

Published: Jason M. Lindo & Isaac D. Swensen & Glen R. Waddell, 2012. "Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 254-74, October. citation courtesy of

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