Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Blissett, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rong Chen, Ph.D.


education, athletics, quantitative, sports, NCAA, football


This study took a quantitative look at the statistical effect on admissions of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly Division IA, institutions’ moves from one athletic conference to another conference with greater athletic success. This study was unique because although previous research in the area of college athletics had identified number of applications and quality of the applicants as variables associated with athletic success, there has been minimal research on the statistical relationship of changing football conferences while using these variables. This study also provides a clear definition and ranking system for yearly conference prestige. The research question of this study looked at whether schools’ moving to more prestigious conferences affected applications, admissions, enrollment, and SAT scores, both immediately and three years after the movement. The study determined that the relationships were not statistically significant across all areas. Implications of the study, limitations, and potential future research are all discussed.