Study: March Madness Victors See Boost in Applications

Villanova Men’s Basketball Twitter

Call it the March Madness effect.

New research confirms what college admission officials have been saying for years: Impressive performances by student-athletes can spur increases in freshman applications.

“Research by Devin and Jaren Pope, two economists, has found that colleges whose men’s basketball teams qualified for March Madness, the sport’s championship tournament, saw a 2.4 percent average increase in the total number of applications, as measured by the number of SAT college-entrance exam results received,” according to a recent article published by The Economist. “Colleges whose teams made the Final Four saw a 5.8 percent increase in applications, while colleges whose teams won the entire tournament saw a 10.9 percent increase in applications in the year after their victory.”

Out-of-state students seem to be more responsive to the trend than in-state students.

“This suggests that sports teams increase their colleges’ name recognition, rather than merely galvanizing high school students who are already familiar with them,” according to the article.

African American students are also heavily influenced by tournament results. According to the report, teams that manage to win the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Championship saw a 23.3 percent increase in applications from black students the following year.

Learn more about the research.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at

One thought on “Study: March Madness Victors See Boost in Applications”

  1. Those of us who were in admissions in the mid-1980’s remember what became known as the “Doug Flutie effect”. Boston College’s applications soared for years.

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