Proof: College Football is linked to crime

May 6, 2008

The research is in: college football is starkly linked to fan violence and anti-social behavior, per this January 2008 research paper out of the University of Colorado. The authors — economists Dan Rees and Kevin Schnepel — write: “Our results suggest that the host community registers sharp increases in assaults on game days. In addition, there is evidence that vandalism, arrests for disorderly conduct, and alcohol-related arrests increase on game day.”

This is a detailed, 42-page analysis of crime data and college football.

Hello, New Brunswick, ready for a rumble? You had better be. Where there is big-time college football, there are sharp spikes in crime, simple as that.  Drunken, rowdy, criminally-minded fans rampaging through city streets are an inevitable by-product of big-time football.  Sounds extreme?

Wharton School professor Justin Wolfers, writing about the research in the New York Times, says: “the study is quite convincing. It is worth noting that these results occur despite the fact that the football programs they analyze ban the sale of alcohol in the stadium.”

Hear an interview with the researchers here. Look on the site for the audio icon.

The results reported in this research are frightening. For instance, on game days with an upset loss, assaults increased 112%, per the researchers.

Write the authors: “our results indicate that college football games lead to increased arrests for alcohol-related offenses and disorderly conduct (the Group B offenses). Home games are associated with a 13 percent increase in arrests for drunk driving, a 41 percent increase in arrests for disorderly conduct, and a 76 percent increase in arrests for liquor law violations.”

Here are charts that make all the violence associated with college football vivid.

The data in this groundbreaking paper are horrifying — and they ought to be ample to sober up Old Queens and get the administration off its jock-sniffing bender.