Research in Higher Education

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 633–661

INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS AND STUDENT COLLEGE CHOICE: Exploring the Impact of Championship Seasons on Undergraduate Applications

  • J. Douglas Toma
  • Michael E. Cross

DOI: 10.1023/A:1018757807834

Cite this article as:
Toma, J.D. & Cross, M.E. Research in Higher Education (1998) 39: 633. doi:10.1023/A:1018757807834


Among large universities, success inhigh-profile intercollegiate athletics appears to be onefactor among several in the college choice process foraspiring undergraduates. Winning a national championship in one of the two most visible college sports— football and men's basketball — isroutinely accompanied by significant positive attentionfor an institution. That attention appears to translateinto increases in applications received for undergraduateadmission in subsequent admissions cycles. We comparedyear-to-year and multiyear changes in the number ofapplications submitted following winning a national championship with changes in parallel sets ofdata from peer institutions that did not experience achampionship, thereby isolating athletic success as afactor in the college choice process. We found that notable increases generally occurred inadmissions applications received-both in absolute termsbut more importantly relative to peer schools — inthe years following the championship season.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Douglas Toma
  • Michael E. Cross

There are no affiliations available

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