On-The-Field Success Leads To Off-The-Field Success

Jan 21, 2016

What does success in collegiate sports mean for a school? Aside from students and alumni basking in glory, success in collegial athletics affects a school in a variety of ways.

Intercollegiate sports have experienced a vast growth in popularity over several decades. According to the football foundation, football attendance has doubled since 1952.

University of Miami alumnus Julian Perez says, “Since a young kid I always watched UM. It had a large presence in my youth;  it still does.”

Colleges and universities benefit from their athletic departments through financial gain from ticket and merchandise sales, paramount television contracts and exposure through advertising.

“The primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions in the United States is, arguably, through its athletics programs,” Doug J. Chung, a Harvard Business School assistant professor of marketing, says.

"As an alumnus seeing my school excel in sports makes me want to be involved. It makes me proud to be a Cane,"  Perez says.

University of Miami fans cheer on.
Credit Doug Murray / Icon Sportswire/Corbis

Collegiate athletic success greatly also affects the academic sector within a school.

“Both collegiate sports and academics have a great relationship,” says Blake James, director of Athletics  for the University of Miami. “They compliment each other. Student athletes have a very structured and organized schedule. It helps students succeed and prepare for life after school, after sports.”

Back in 1984, Boston College faced the University of Miami. A single play by BC quarterback Doug Flutie put BC on the map for future college students. In just two years, applications rose by 30 percent.

Since then, this unfamiliar phenomena has become known as the “Flutie Effect.”

A successful athletic department affects the school as a whole. It transforms the school into a brand, which is then sought out by college applicants.

“Achieving excellence raises the overall image of the school,”  says James. “It puts the university in a better position.”