Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Sriram Venkataraman

Second Reader

Heather Price


NCAA Division I athletics have always been important, though in as recent as the early 2000s, athletic success did not have an effect on the number of freshmen enrolled at a university. This study shows between the years of 2010 and 2020, success in baseball, basketball, and football has begun to influence freshman enrollment at top universities in the United States. Using freshman enrollment data from the years before and after the university’s athletic success, this study analyzes percent change using regression analysis in order to determine if there is a significant increase in freshman enrollment following athletic success at thirty-five selected universities from across the United States. The study found that, on average, universities experience a significant increase in freshman enrollment following athletic success, particularly following success in baseball and football. The increase is primarily seen at universities that are located in the Southeastern and Western United States and universities that are members of the Southeastern Conference, though universities in different athletic conferences and located in different geographic areas also had their freshman enrollment rates significantly impacted by athletic success. Using the results of the study, universities across the country experiencing success in athletics can better plan to accommodate an increased number of freshmen on campus following the success of one of their athletics teams.

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