Does a winning college football team make it’s students stupid?
Maybe. At least the men.
That’s the conclusion you could reach after reading a study released right at the beginning of the college bowl season by economists at the University of Oregon. The researchers examined the grade point averages of the student body at the University of Oregon and compared them to the performance of Oregon’s football team.
“Our results support the concern that big-time sports are a threat to American higher education,” the authors wrote.
The New York Times wrote an article yesterday about the college football study. Here is an excerpt of the key findings:
The greater the football team’s success, the wider the gender gap in academic performance. Glen R. Waddell, one of the researchers, was quoted as saying, “I teach these students and I know that on Thursdays there’s this subtle distraction in the classroom, and the game isn’t even until Saturday.”
The economists looked at Oregon undergraduate transcripts of close to 28,000 non-athletes from 1999 through 2007. During that period, the Oregon Ducks had an average winning percentage 68%. The economists included interviews with students during this period of time and discovered that 24% of male students said Oregon football wins definitely or probably decreased their study time compared with nine percent of women.
What’s my take on the study? I think it’s just another indication that college football has gotten out of control. Coaches salaries, player exploitation, a wide variety of scandals (Penn State just one of many) are just some of the problems, but I don’t see this genie ever getting shoved back into the bottle. Sad, but true.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and a financial aid workbook, Shrinking the Cost of College: Great Ways to Cut the Price of a Bachelor’s Degree, which is only available on her website.