Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Christos Pantzalis, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Dahlia Robinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

T. Grandon Gill, DBA

Committee Member

Shivendu Shivendu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Tiller, DBA


College Football, Low Income, NFL, NCAA, African American, Division I, Academics


This research focuses on college football players from low socioeconomic backgrounds (i.e., attended a Title I High School) and examines whether they are more likely to experience athletic success and influence the performance of the college football programs they attend relative to other student-athletes. The results show that, over the period 2010-2016, Title I players are more likely to be drafted or play in the NFL than other student-athletes. In addition, teams with more Title I players on their roster appear to reap some benefits. On one hand, Title I heavy rosters are associated with better conference records and are more successful in terms of having their players drafted. On the other hand, Title I heavy rosters are not associated with the program's financial performance or ability to produce NFL players. Overall, the evidence supports the notion that socioeconomic background is important for athletic success, especially at the individual level. However, this effect is reversed in the case of student-athletes playing as quarterbacks, which raises interesting questions for future research.