Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

First Advisor

Bob Heere


Numerous researchers have attempted to study the effect of winning football on a university’s academic standing. To this point, the results have been varied and inconclusive. The answer is unclear and the research does not examine a conference as a whole in comparison to other conferences since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)- era (1998-2012). The current study examines whether the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the success of the conference’s football teams, in terms of winning games and conference membership, improves the conference's member schools academic indicators. Using factors such as SAT scores, application rate, retention rates, and graduation rates, this study investigates the relationship between that football success and the conference’s academic measures. To accomplish this purpose, this study examines successful football programs and academic achievement in the SEC using the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) as a constant. The research design is a secondary data design, using longitudinal data from two academic conferences in the United States from 1998-2012. The results indicate that winning and league affiliation do influence academic indicators and being in the SEC has a greater impact on retention rates and incoming SAT scores but not acceptance rates and graduation rates.