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The impact of basketball malfeasance on the university and its rankings

Abigail Cormier, Austin F. Eggers, Peter Groothuis and Kurt W. Rotthoff

Applied Economics, 2023, vol. 55, issue 33, 3902-3914

Abstract: Collegiate sports have a profound impact on a university beyond athletics. Successful athletics have been shown to have a positive impact on the institution. Likewise, athletic malfeasance has been shown to negatively impact the university. We analyse tournament bans in Division I college basketball as a signal for university quality in rankings (U.S. News and World Report’s peer rankings), student quality, and other university measures. We find evidence that following a postseason tournament ban, applications from students in the top ten percent of their high school class decrease, some evidence that academic test scores decrease, and some evidence that the amount of alumni donations decrease. These results suggest that an athletic department’s malfeasance leads to a decline in university quality. We do, however, find that peer rankings from faculty administrators fall the year of the ban, only to increase slightly two years after sanctions for athletic malfeasance.

Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2119200

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