A couple of economists go there.

[M]any prominent universities would lose their main claim to fame. Alabama and LSU produce a large amount of revenue and notoriety from football without much in the way of first-rate academics to back it up. Schools would have to compete more on academics to be nationally prominent, which would again boost American education.

Or those schools might become what UD predicts (economists aren’t the only people who can make predictions!) the University of Massachusetts will become: Exclusively online institutions.


UD thanks Dave.

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3 Responses to ““The collapse of football is more likely than you might think.””

  1. Mike S. Says:

    don’t get your hopes up,
    the economists don’t have the greatest track record on recent predictions.

  2. TAFKAU Says:

    Not a major point, but it’s curious that an article coauthored by an econ prof from the University of Oklahoma would trash Alabama’s academics.

    US News rankings, national universities:

    Alabama 75
    Oklahoma 101

    Actually, at 75, Bama ranks even with, among others, Indiana and Baylor. Say what you want about its football obsession, but it’s actually a pretty decent university if US News is to be believed.

    (The other coauthor teaches at George Mason, which, at #138, ranks below both Alabama and LSU.)

    And the idea that lawsuits will bring down football is laughable. Congress will pass targeted tort reform before they’ll let that happen. Besides, I’ve spent my whole life being told by various experts that government will outlaw boxing any day now. I’m still waiting.

  3. Shane Street Says:

    I think I have a better metric for this “first-rate academics” evaluation. Economics is the dismal science, they say. I don’t know if I would characterize what they do science but they do appear to appreciate numbers and measurement. Here are some relevant ones from the 2010 National Research Council rankings of doctoral programs.

    Let’s make it a head-to-head comparison, pitting a football mad public SEC school, say The University of Alabama, against an East Coast private liberal arts bastion, George Washington University. The NRC rankings are multidimensional, with rankings based on survey results and regression analysis (find methodology info at http://www.nap.edu), and has critics, but they are highly regarded.

    Consider programs in Chemistry. There are a number of ways to slice the date but here’s the upshot:
    Program Median Rank UA 67/178 GWU 98/178

    I thought this might be unfair because I didn’t think GWU had an engineering program, which might put them at a disadvantage overall for STEM programs. Turns out they do (in fact, it’s the School of Engineering and Applied Science) it’s just that I had never heard of it, or anyone from there. Indeed, UA should be at a disadvantage, because GWU has a well-regarded medical school, while the medical school of the UA system is associated with UAB (Birmingham) and not UA.

    But why pussyfoot around? Let’s go right to the heart of academic power, the departments of English Language and Literature:
    Program Median Rank UA 78/119 GWU 107/119

    [and oof, look at the quality ranking distribution for GWU http://graduate-school.phds.org/rankings/english/compare-programs?p1=7006&p2=6969. Monodisperse at bad]

    So, whatever those GWU folks are doing on Saturdays in the fall when they are pointedly NOT watching their football team (they don’t have one, dontcha know) it ain’t improving the quality of their academic programs. Where does all the money go?

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