College Football Games and Crime

Published in Journal of Sports Economics, 2009

Recommended citation: Rees, Daniel I., and Kevin T. Schnepel. (2009). "College Football Games and Crime." Journal of Sports Economics. 10(1).

Abstract: There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that college football games can lead to aggressive and destructive behavior by fans. However, to date, no empirical study has attempted to document the magnitude of this phenomenon. We match daily data on offenses from the National Incident-Based Reporting System to 26 Division I-A college football programs to estimate the relationship between college football games and crime. Our results suggest that the host community registers sharp increases in assaults, vandalism, arrests for disorderly conduct, and arrests for alcohol-related offenses on game days. Upsets are associated with the largest increases in the number of expected offenses.

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Media coverage: Colorado Public Radio, Freakonomics Blog, The Atlantic