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The Impact of Early Commitment on Games Played: Evidence from College Football Recruiting


  • Jesse Bricker

    () (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Division of Research & Statistics, 20th and C Street NW, MS-153, Washington, DC 20551, USA; corresponding author)

  • Andrew Hanson

    () (Department of Economics, Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201;)


We use data on athletic scholarship acceptance decisions to show that high school football players signal their ability level by delaying commitment. Although colleges can obtain information about student athletes, National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations limit information flow, making private information an important component of the scholarship market. Using ordinary least squares, censored regression, and negative binomial estimation, we show that for a given observed ability level, committing to a scholarship offer early is associated with less playing time after acceptance. In one season and at a typical average early signing date, early-committing athletes played in 0.21 fewer games per season, or about 4% of the average number of games played.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse Bricker & Andrew Hanson, 2013. "The Impact of Early Commitment on Games Played: Evidence from College Football Recruiting," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 971-983, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:79:4:y:2013:p:971-983

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    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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