As the college football bowl season ramps up, I thought that a recent paper by Devin G. Pope (Penn--Wharton) & Jaren C. Pope (Virgina Tech) was especially timely. In Understanding College Application Decisions: Why College Sports Success Matters, the authors assess the influence of college athletic success on applications (proxied by sent SAT scores). Using College Board (SAT) data, the paper finds:
"[T]hat college sports success has a large impact on student application decisions. For example, a school that has a stellar year in basketball or football on average receives up to 10% more SAT scores. Certain demographic groups (males, blacks, out-of-state students, and students that played sports in high school) are more likely to be influenced by sports success than their counterparts. We explore the reasons why students might be influenced by these sporting events and present evidence that attention/accessibility helps explain these findings."