Does Athletic Success Lead to Academic Failure?
BY: ALI JENKINS
It is no secret that on-field success leads to an increase in national awareness and student applications. Whether it’s a winning season or an upset, America’s obsession with football runs deep.
Blame it on the 24/7 media bombardment or the laziness of today’s college students, but one thing is certain: football glory leads to academic short-comings.
A recent study published in the October issue of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found a direct correlation between male non-athletes increased partying and decreased studying in the fall semester and the success of their football program.
The study, conducted by University of Oregon researchers Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen and Glen R. Waddell, revealed male students dedicate less time to studying and more time to drinking and “risky behaviors” when their collegiate team plays well.
Although the study was conducted at the University of Oregon, the results reflect the attitude of students nationwide. No longer are academics at the forefront of the mind. Now, more and more undecided high school seniors are swayed from one institution to another based on athletic superiority.
A national championship season or a Rose Bowl victory can entice and persuade students to apply and enroll in a college they never expected to attend. But to the horror of parents and university faculty, academics take a back seat to the celebration of athletic success.
Twenty-four percent of males said their study time was reduced “definitely” or “probably” based on the team’s success on the field. Both in absolute terms and relative to females, male grades tend to decrease significantly when the football team succeeds.
Nearly half of the males surveyed admitted to partying more when the team won.
The effects trickle down to female non-student athletes as well. The researchers found that females whose GPA’s improved alongside the success of the football team were less likely to drop out of college following a winning season, although the exact reason for the decrease is unknown.
The study begs the question, “How do you encourage on-field success while maintaining an emphasis on academic excellence?”
Left up to their own devices, students are going to choose the easy route every time. It is up to the schools to teach them that while athletic success is great, education is the key to real-world achievement.