Passion, parties and rivalries, that is college sports. The love of the game can bring team spirit, and also freshman applications. There is a new study out that ties successful sport programs to spikes in freshman applications in colleges and universities all over the country.
The study was co-authored by assistant BYU economics professor Jaren Pope. Jaren and his brother who did the study together have two great loves, sports and economics. So naturally they wanted to see what happened when they combined them, and what resulted was a very fascinating question. “I wonder if college sports really does effect where students go to college and where they decide to enroll and maybe where they go to graduate school.” Said Pope.
Pope’s question prompted him to study numbers from over three hundred colleges and universities; he found out that successful college sports programs really do draw more freshman applicants. “If you make it to the NCAA tournament you see about a 2% increase in applications and winning say the NCAA basketball tournament you see about a 10 to 12% increase.” He said.
Pope settled on two reasons that winning college teams were drawing more attention from seeking seniors. “I think part of it is people learning about a university for the first time but part of it is, I really want to go there because I want to be part of a winner I want to be part of this atmosphere that is created by the college sports.” He said.
BYU is no exception to the results found in the study. They also have seen a pattern of application spikes when the teams do well. Of course that brings to mind the question, well what happened after Jimmermainia? According to BYU spokesperson Todd Hollingshead, after the BYU basketball team made it to the sweet 16, BYU received over 1000 more applications this year then they did last year. And after a season like that, the results of this study certainly did not come as a surprise to Hollingshead. “Certainly we think that Jimmer and the basketball team probably did influence some people.” He said.
After numbers like these BYU fans like Pope and the BYU administration want the good seasons to keep on coming. “We certainly hope that we have another banner year and another banner year after that, we would love to have a banner year every year” said Hollingshead.