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The Curious (and Spurious?) Relationship Between Intercollegiate Athletic Success and Tuition Rates


  • D. Randall Smith

    () (Rutgers University)


Previous research suggests that college and universities may use success in big-time intercollegiate athletics to increase tuition. The largest effects have been found at public institutions, especially for out-of-state tuition rates. The present study revisits those findings using a broader sample that includes private schools. Rates are more responsive to athletic success when tuition includes room, board, and fees—more so in the case of football performance than in basketball performance. When the dependent variable is exclusively tuition, there appears to be little relationship with the fortunes of sports teams. These findings point to a need for increasing student fees in order to continue participation in the so-called athletic arms race and the potential of room and board to serve as revenue streams for the host school.

Suggested Citation

  • D. Randall Smith, 2012. "The Curious (and Spurious?) Relationship Between Intercollegiate Athletic Success and Tuition Rates," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 7(1), pages 3-18, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:7:y:2012:i:1:p:3-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boscá, José E. & Liern, Vicente & Martínez, Aurelio & Sala, Ramøn, 2009. "Increasing offensive or defensive efficiency? An analysis of Italian and Spanish football," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 63-78, February.
    2. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Assessment: The Economics of Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 467-477, Winter.
    3. Van Calster Ben & Smits Tim & Van Huffel Sabine, 2008. "The Curse of Scoreless Draws in Soccer: The Relationship with a Team's Offensive, Defensive, and Overall Performance," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, January.
    4. Peter Macmillan & Ian Smith, 2007. "Explaining International Soccer Rankings," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 8(2), pages 202-213, May.
    5. Robert Houston & Dennis Wilson, 2002. "Income, leisure and proficiency: an economic study of football performance," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(14), pages 939-943.
    6. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
    7. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2002. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of International Soccer Performance," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 5, pages 253-272, November.
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    More about this item


    intercollegiate athletics; college tuition; higher education fees;

    JEL classification:

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


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