Good Football Makes College Students Dumb

With recent scandals over college athletics, some academics wondered how, really, college sports affect the academic caliber of American schools. The answer, unsurprisingly, is that sports are pretty much a bad thing for the intellectual development of an institution. Or at least for the intellectual development of men.

According to a new study produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research:

The estimate…suggests that a 25 percent increase in the football team’s winning percentage (or three additional wins) leads males to earn GPAs as if their SAT scores were 27 points lower.

As Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan explains, however, it’s actually worse than we might expect:

Like us, you’ve probably always assumed that schools with really good football teams are also full of stupid meatheads simply because stupid meatheads like football, and therefore go to those schools. That’s not quite right; good football teams actually make students worse. Guy students. Cause guys like the football!

Only guys, however. While female students might also like college football, their GPAs don’t decline in relation to football wins.

Note that while the study did indicate that good sports teams made for crappier academics, it did not indicate that good sports teams make for pedophile creeps. That particular problem seems, at least at this point, to be exclusive to Penn State. And, well, Syracuse.

The study was only about football, however. Enjoy basketball season.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer