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Ivy League Athletic Performance


  • Dmitry Kotlyarenko

    (Cornell University)

  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg

    (Cornell University)


This article analyzes the determinants of undergraduate varsity athletic teams’ success in the Ivy League, a conference that prohibits athletic scholarships and holds its varsity athletes to high academic standards. The theoretical model suggests that the same factors that determine the enrollment decisions of all students who attend these institutions, namely, the institutions’ perceived academic quality and the generosity of their financial aid programs, should determine athletic performance success. In addition, the authors hypothesize that institutions whose athletes’ academic credentials are close to those of their class as a whole should have poorer records than those that accept scholar athletes whose credentials are relatively weaker as compared with their classmates. The empirical analyses use data for the 1981-1982 to 1996-1997 academic years on the number of male and female titles each institution in the conference won and the number of league games each won in men’s basketball, football, and hockey. The authors find strong support for the first two hypotheses and mixed support for the third.

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Kotlyarenko & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2000. "Ivy League Athletic Performance," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(2), pages 139-150, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:1:y:2000:i:2:p:139-150

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    Cited by:

    1. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.

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