The Intersection of College Admissions & College Football

I am writing this from the Delta Lounge at Newark airport on my way to Salt Lake City for Family Weekend at the University of Utah. Other colleges offer three days of events for students to share with their loved ones. At the U, as the University of Utah is typically called, the weekend revolves around one thing and one thing only…football. Their football team is ranked #12 in the country and competed in the Rose Bowl against Penn State last year. They are currently undefeated and they play UCLA tomorrow. I thought it would be useful to take a look at how college football and college admissions intersect.

  1. This is big business for the colleges. Some schools have media contracts that support a significant percentage of their athletic budget.
  2. The saying, “There is no bad press” applies here. College football gets the school’s name out in the mainstream media in a way that would be almost impossible to replicate on their own.
  3. Colleges buy advertising during the game to promote the school.
  4. Many students approach the college search with the goal of attending a school with “game day”. They have seen the ESPN broadcasts from colleges and they want a campus where they can participate in that experience.
  5. When a school does well in the national football arena, their popularity goes viral and the application numbers surge. Think of the University of Tennessee; they were inundated with applications last year.
  6. Look at Coach Prime at University of Colorado Boulder-I think that level of exposure will change the numbers at UC Boulder; my guess is the admit rate will plummet.

I will be cheering on the Utes tomorrow. Good luck to all the teams on game day!

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