Pay the coaches, or the professors?

5/2/2013: That’s the question UO’s feckless administrative bargaining team has raised at the table. As it happens there’s a new paper on college admissions from Doug Chung at the HBS, coming out in Management Science, that is relevant. Quick version?

I further find that when a school goes from being mediocre to being great on the football field, applications increase by 17.7 percent. To achieve similar effects, a school would have to either decrease its tuition by 3.8 percent or increase the quality of its education by recruiting higher-quality faculty who are paid 5.1 percent more in the academic labor market. 

In addition, the impact of football success on applications is concentrated among low-SAT students, and is short-lived. Regardless, if football success is helping UO recruit students, our enrollment management people ought to be saving a ton of money on recruiting costs, by cutting back on visits to CA high schools, mailings, advertising, etc. Those bowl games should do it all, right? Right? Well, not exactly, UO’s Enrollment Management Operations budget is up 600%:

Of course you don’t need to propose anything as improbable as cutting football, or even football expenditures to get the money for faculty raises. Cut sports like baseball, golf, tennis and lacrosse – which cost millions, and benefit only a few student-athletes, and their coaches. (And one UO Matters commenter.)

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11 Responses to Pay the coaches, or the professors?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yea, but Roger Thompson is just a cheerleader, with no respect for data. The first thing he did on campus was travel to every high school in Oregon. Did he collect data from counselors there, or anything? No way. He doesn’t need data. He’s here to cheer and will say whatever he wants to say, regardless of the data.


    • Anonymous says:

      He sure is able to spend the money. He’s seems to want to take all the credit for the run up in enrollment, too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some 35% of Colorado’s students are from out of state. They have a horrible football team. 37% of Oregon’s are out of state (according to a random web site). They have a great football team. Seems like other factors (collapse of the California school system, desire from overseas to attend US universities) drive the crucial metric, which is percent of the student body paying out of state taxes.

  3. Awesome0 says:

    This paper is far more careful in its methodology and finds much smaller effects.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree on the methodological comparison, but the “5.1 percent to faculty salaries” equivalency is a nice perspective to add to the debate. Bottom line… Football is a VERY costly recruiting methodology.

      In the mean time, do our admins even know this literature? (They ignore even local researchers who work in related areas, so I think not.) Our faculty are leaving, and the administration gives us a cheap-ass take-it-or-leave-it offer at the bargaining table, while justifying teh ever0increasing athletic budget (five-fold increases since I started paying attention) and administrative excesses “in order to stay competitive.”

    • Not the real Jim Bean says:

      This comment is defamatory. A beamer is not just about “staying competitive”, it’s “the ultimate driving machine.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Our sports obsession also costs male students academically.

      “We consider the relationship between collegiate-football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades. This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team.”

  4. Leporello says:

    Now the economics professors can stop using guns and butter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I actually like lacrosse.

  6. Awesome0 says:

    I think our admins are falling for the classic rain made scam.
    “If you just spend more athletics it’ll fix all your problems.”
    The scam is if enrollments go up, the athletic take all the credit and ask for even more money to spend. If they don’t go didn’t spend enough and establish “your national brand.” Just like scams to make it rain…