In recent years, state appropriations to higher education decreased. In response, universities of all sizes, both public and private, are forced to shift many of the associated burdens to their students in the form of increasing tuition rates and decreasing institutional quality to cut costs. As such, increasing alumni giving rates is essential to all institutions of higher education as they seek to maintain high academic standards, attract the best prospects, and foster future growth and financial stability. There is a large body of research seeking to address these pressing issues in higher education, many focusing on athletics as a stimulus for alumni giving. This paper builds upon the existing literature and ultimately answers the question: how does athletic success affect alumni giving? A fifteen-year panel data set comprised of 65 Division I universities is examined and the results show an insignificant relationship between athletic success and alumni giving. However, the analysis informs the influence of the macroeconomy and parameters for institutional quality. While athletics do not provide any substantial predictive power in this paper, the significance of other explanatory variables justifies this re-examination of athletics and alumni giving and explicitly highlights further avenues for research.
A video created by Colorado College students as part of the course, FG110 Introduction to Feminist and Gender Studies, taught by Assistant Professor Heidi Lewis during FYE Block 1, 2012.
Previous studies have attempted to draw conclusions on the impact athletic success has on annual giving. There has yet to be conclusive data on this topic. This study will attempt to build on previous research by including more athletic success variables in the model. This study includes data for football, men’s and women’s basketball at Division I and Division III institutions. A separate ordinary least squares regression model was used for each form of annual giving, which included alumni giving, board giving and athletic giving, to identify the determinants of each. The results found for each variable differs depending on the form of giving. Women’s athletic success had an influence on annual donations whereas men’s sports did not and this was the only consistent result across all models. Overall, the results indicate that athletic success does not seem to have a significant impact on annual donations.