College football games cause rape. That’s the conclusion three economists have reached after studying the effects Division 1A football game days have on increased instances of sexual assault.
A study was performed looking at what degree events that intensify partying and alcohol consumption — specifically Division 1A college football games — increase sexual assaults. Their results were shocking.
The economists found that home football games increase reports of rape by 41 percent on the day of the game while away games increase reports by 15 percent. They estimate that Division 1A football games cause between 253 and 770 additional rapes of college-aged victims per year across 128 universities.
“We’re identifying the effect of football games on rape incidents,” said Isaac Swenson, one of the three authors.
“We can say that ‘football games cause rape incidents’ because in the absence of these football games we wouldn’t see these rape incidents.”
How did they reach their conclusions?
The three economists analyzed 22 years of FBI data from law enforcement agencies that serve 96 colleges with a Division 1A football team. Researchers correlated the reports of rape with home and away college football games.
Out of the 128 universities with Division 1A football programs, Swenson said only 96 provided enough voluntarily documented sexual assault information that could be used for the study.
Missing from the useable group of 96 schools were Penn State University, Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh.
“Not all of them are consistently reporting their crime to the FBI,” Swenson said.
That includes detailed information not being provided by either campus police or local area police.
Researchers found that women between the ages of 17 and 24 were the most likely to be rape victims on game days.
“We hypothesize that college football games increase rapes primarily because of their role in campus social life, specifically the college party culture,” according to the study.
Do other crimes increase during game days?
Aside from rape, researchers found that excessive partying on game days led to an increase in other crimes.
Researchers found that arrests on home game days increased 54 percent for disorderly conduct, 20 percent for DUIs, 87 percent for public intoxication and 102 percent for liquor law violations.
“Even though football events cause rape, there are underlying mechanisms that are [the parts of] the story that we’re ultimately interested in,” said Swenson, a Montana State University professor.
“These behavioral mechanisms are probably related to alcohol and this intense partying. But I don’t think we’re in the position to say what the main source of this phenomenon is.”
What changes should be made?
Swenson emphasized that the researchers are not telling colleges to stop playing football. But there are some things that can be done which may reduce the instances of rape on game days.
“You might think about using some of the football revenue for sexual assault prevention and treatment to offset some of the negative effects that we’ve documented,” Swenson said.
The researchers also recommend looking for ways to reduce spikes in partying, making partying safer and implementing information campaigns.