NCAA Athletes Taking it Easy?

Last week, USA Today had a cover story on how college athletes in the NCAA tend to take easier academic majors in order to maintain their eligibility.

Many teams have a higher than statistically reasonable percentage of students in the same major. According to USA Today reporters, Robert Case at Old Dominion University has studied athlete “clustering” and found that if 25% of a team is in the same major, “it constitutes a non-random cluster, regardless of the team size.”

Hmmm… according to the article, which is based on 2007-2008 data:

SchoolSport% of Jrs & Srs in ClusterMajor
Boise State
football
48%
management
Boise State
M & W basketball
50%
communications
Univ. of Southern California
football
58%
sociology
Georgia Tech
M basketball
63%
management
Georgia Tech
football
82%
management
Georgia Tech
baseball
83%
management
Texas-El Paso
M basketball
100%
multidisciplinary studies

The report looked at 5 sports at 142 schools, and 83% of the schools had at least one cluster. In total, 235 clusters were identified, and 53% of those were extreme, with more then 40% of the team in the same major.

If above 25% indicates a non-random cluster, then something is definitely going on. But what, exactly?

More on this next week.