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The Relationship Between Big-Time College Football and State Appropriations for Higher Education

  • Brad R. Humphreys


    (University of Illinois)

Do big-time college sports affect state appropriations to public colleges and universities? Little attention has been given to the possibility that big-time athletic programs generate economic benefits for a university at the state capital. The paper estimates a reduced form model of the determination of annual state appropriations to public universities, including institution-specific effects to control for unobservable factors like mission and reputation that could affect appropriations. The results suggest that institutions fielding Division I-A football programs receive 8% more in annual state appropriations — about $2.6 million in real 1982 dollars — than those without such programs. Bowl appearances and national rankings do not lead to additional appropriations. These results suggest that the total economic benefit associated with big-time athletic programs may be larger than previously thought and provide insight into why the number of institutions fielding Division I-A college football programs increased by 10% from 1998 to 2002.

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Article provided by Fitness Information Technology in its journal International Journal of Sport Finance.

Volume (Year): 1 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 119-128

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Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:1:y:2006:i:2:p:119-128
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