Study: Good football leads to bad grades

The grade point averages over at the University of Minnesota should be going through the roof if a study out of Oregon has any legs nationwide.

Researchers found that the GPAs of male students at the University of Oregon drop when the football team wins, the Associated Press reports:


The bottom line: Three extra wins for the Ducks’ football squad in any given year caused a drop in male GPAs that’s about as steep as the one you’d expect if male students had scored 27 points lower on their SATs.

Chalk it up as another cost to consider for a successful big-time athletic program, right up there with ballooning coaches’ salaries, travel budgets and stadium expansions.

Academically, a school might be better off with a crummy season on the field that makes students want to head to the library to forget.

The study was published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Lindo, Oregon faculty colleague Glen Waddell and graduate student Isaac Swensen examined the GPAs during fall term (football season) of nearly 30,000 students who weren’t athletes, over a period when the Ducks’ football record ranged from 5-6 to 11-1.

On average, men were earning GPAs of 2.94, compared to 3.12 for women. But the more the team won, the more the gap widened; three extra wins amounted to an approximately 8 percent increase in the difference.

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