Bryan Caplan  

The Elasticity of Applications with Respect to Athletic Victories

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My undergrads think that a Mason win in basketball will lead to skyrocketing applications. Russ Roberts isn't so sure.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Johnny writes:

Let's assume that students who select a university on the basis of its sports teams are less intelligent than average. As these students graduate and become alumni, they will clamor for more national tournament wins, and contribute money accordingly. More wins, more low-quality students.

This could put George Mason into a death spiral.

Daniel writes:

Johnny assumes that everyone who hears about Mason because of the sports victories won't then go on to look at other merits of the school in deciding whether to apply.

I think that the victories will lead to at least a slight improvement in quality of applicants for this year. Regardless of whether this happens the US News rankings are so dependent on name recognition and perception that there should be an upward spiral in later years, especially if applications increase significantly (leading to Mason having to reject more applicants, moving up in college rankings, attracting those who were on the fence, ad infintum).

Hei Lun Chan writes:

The happened to UMass Amherst a decade ago. Shortly after their basketball team became respectable, the SAT scores of the incoming classes went up even though the school didn't do anything to improve on academics.

Zac writes:

I think it will do wonders for the school, and certainly my degree. Mostly its a matter of name exposure - forget the fact that it was a basketball team getting to the Final Four (and losing like a bunch of CLOWNS, argh) and just think that now, people all over the country have heard of George Mason. It could go a long way from making the school strictly regional to having more national appeal, or at lest draw more students from non-Virginia, mid-Atlantic states.

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