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Research note: Athletic graduation rates and Simpson's Paradox


  • Matheson, Victor A.


Graduation rates for male athletes overall as well as men’s football and basketball players lag behind those of male non-athletes at Division I colleges and universities. Scholarship athletes, however, are much more likely to be drawn from racial and ethnic groups with lower average graduation rates. After accounting for differences in racial composition, graduation rates for male athletes overall as well football players match or exceed those of their peers, and racial differences account for over one-quarter of the shortfall in men’s basketball graduation rates. This is a classic example of Simpson’s Paradox.
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  • Matheson, Victor A., 2007. "Research note: Athletic graduation rates and Simpson's Paradox," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 516-520, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:26:y:2007:i:4:p:516-520

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Louis H. Amato & John M. Gandar & Richard A. Zuber, 2001. "The Impact of Proposition 48 on the Relationship Between Football Success and Football Player Graduation Rates," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(2), pages 101-112, May.
    2. Tucker, Irvin B., 2004. "A reexamination of the effect of big-time football and basketball success on graduation rates and alumni giving rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 655-661, December.
    3. Amato, Louis & Gandar, John M. & Tucker, Irvin B. & Zuber, Richard A., 1996. "Bowls versus playoffs: The impact on football player graduation rates in the national collegiate athletic association," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 187-195, April.
    4. Tucker, Irvin III & Amato, Louis, 1993. "Does big-time success in football or basketball affect SAT scores?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 177-181, June.
    5. Murphy, Robert G. & Trandel, Gregory A., 1994. "The relation between a university's football record and the size of its applicant pool," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 265-270, September.
    6. McCormick, Robert E & Tensley, Maurice, 1987. "Athletics versus Academics? Evidence from SAT Scores," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1103-1116, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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