Review of Industrial Organization

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 269–281 | Cite as

State of Play: How Do College Football Programs Compete for Student Athletes?

  • Jill S. HarrisEmail author


Each year high school football players sign letters of intent with college football programs. The NCAA governs this matching market with strict rules that are designed to protect amateurism. DuMond et al. (J Sports Econ 9(1):67–87, 2008) develop a model of athlete choice. I consider the matching puzzle from the program’s perspective: What factors increase the likelihood that a school will successfully recruit an athlete? Like DuMond et al., I find that the state of play matters. However, my results suggest that football programs are willing to recruit outside their borders. In addition, the results align with prior findings about cheating in the NCAA. This extends the literature on college sport recruiting and may provide insight into other matching puzzles in academic, medical, and business job markets.


Football recruiting NCAA Matching 

JEL Classification

J42 L13 Z21 



I thank Roger Blair for organizing the symposium on NCAA behavior and Brad Humphreys, Nathan Wozny, Tobin McKearin, and Aaron Albert for their generosity and helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature (outside the USA)  2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of the Air ForceUnited States Air Force AcademyUSAF AcademyUSA

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