According to a new study, when a college football team does well, it is correlated with a drop in grades among male students of that college.

Of course, this study must be taken with some salt, since they only studied one school. And correlation, as we all know, is not the same thing as causation.

In my opinion, this study would make a lot more sense if they had looked at test scores instead of GPAs. If they could look and see if there was a noticeable decline in test scores around the time of a big win, for instance, that would bolster their case. Although that’s probably too much data to acquire, and in any case, it probably would violate some privacy policy.

A final note: the article I linked to says this study “could give ammo to critics of big-time college sports.” Well, yes, but it shouldn’t. Ultimately, it seems to me, this is the students’ responsibility. There is no mystical force that makes them stupider if the team wins; it’s just that they lack the discipline to prioritize effectively.

UPDATE: Maybe I should clarify a little. I can see how having a big-time football program might distract students a bit through no fault of their own. However, I don’t see how it could be so severe that they couldn’t, with sufficient dedication, manage to get past that and do academic work. For more of my thoughts on college sports, see this post. But also know that my thinking has changed some since that post.

1 Comment

  1. I wonder if this study has been done concerning March Madness? Just the students. I think businesses suffer but do the students, as well? But I think I agree that it's just a matter of priorities.

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