How College Football Games Impact Sexual Assault on College and University Campuses

A new study by researchers at Texas A&M University, the University of Montana, and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, finds a correlation between the holding of on-campus football games at large colleges and universities and an increase of sexual assaults on the college campuses hosting these games.

The study looked at 128 colleges and universities that have football teams that play in the Football Bowl Subdivision of National Collegiate Athletic Association. These programs are the premier college football programs and most are at large universities. The study produced data on 43,793 Saturdays without football games and 17,062 Saturdays with football games. The researchers examined reported sexual assaults within the 24-hour period surrounding these games.

The data showed that when a college or universities football team played at home, incidents of sexual assault increased by 41 percent. These sexual assaults occurring on days and nights of college games accounted for 5 percent of all rapes reported during the fall semesters at these schools. The data showed that even when a college or university played on the road reports of sexual assault on the home campus of the football team playing on the road increased by 15 percent.

The authors state that the increase amount of partying and the increased consumption of alcohol surrounding these games is undoubtedly a major factor in the statistics they report. They conclude that the hosting of college football games is responsible for an increase of 724 reported rapes on these campuses. The authors states that “while there are likely to be benefits to having a university’s football team participate in the most competitive division and otherwise playing relatively prominent games, our results indicate that such games have especially large costs in terms of sexual violence victimization.”

The full study, College Party Culture and Sexual Assault,” was published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. It may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment

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