The Curious (and Spurious?) Relationship Between Intercollegiate Athletic Success and Tuition Rates, pp. 3-18

D. Randall Smith

Previous research suggests that college and universities may use success in big-time intercollegiate athletics to increase tuition. The largest effects have been found at public institutions, especially for out-of-state tuition rates. The present study revisits those findings using a broader sample that includes private schools. Rates are more responsive to athletic success when tuition includes room, board, and fees—more so in the case of football performance than in basketball performance. When the dependent variable is exclusively tuition, there appears to be little relationship with the fortunes of sports teams. These findings point to a need for increasing student fees in order to continue participation in the so-called athletic arms race and the potential of room and board to serve as revenue streams for the host school.