The Economics of Persistence: Graduation Rates of Athletes as Labor Market Choice
In this paper we analyze data for each Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) school on academic characteristics, athletic characteristics, and graduation rates. Three groups of athletes are studied: male football players, male basketball players, and female basketball players. We find strong empirical evidence that traditional labor market opportunities unrelated to sports are significant explanatory variables of the persistence of athletes. In addition, we find support for the hypothesis that professional opportunities have a significant impact on the graduation rate of athletes. This impact is stronger in sports with higher expected financial returns from this form of nondegree employment.
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