A team of University of Oregon economists probes one of life’s age-old questions: Is there a relationship between academic gender gaps and a university’s football team’s performance?
The answer looks to be yes. In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper this month, economists Jason Lindo, Issac Swenson and Glen Waddell tracked how much female students at the University of Oregon were outperforming male students on grade point averages. They then mapped that against the number of wins the school’s football team had that season. And they found that, when the Oregon Ducks did better, the male students did worse:
“Our estimates suggests male grades fall significantly with the success of the football team,” they conclude. And they offer some insight into why this might be: In surveys conducted for the study, male students said they tended to drink more and study less after a football victory. “As such,” they write, “our results support the concern that big-time sports are a threat to American higher education.”