Friday, September 08, 2006

Smart Games

Not to throw more fuel on the fire that is the debate over whether or not Ultimate Frisbee is a real sport, but according to this study, the better a university's ultimate team is, the smarter its students are. Based on the information in this press release, I can't say that I'm convinced of the intellectual superiority of ultimate players (myself excluded, of course). The press release cites two measurements of academic performance, graduation rate and the number of Rhodes and Marshall scholarship recipients. I don't think graduation rate statistics say much about the quality of students at a particular school. A school with a very easy academic program could achieve a high graduation rate with a mediocre student body while a school with a very challenging program could have a lower graduation rate even with a very intelligent student body. The other dubious part of this study is that compares the academic performance of the entire student bodies at the schools, not just the ultimate players. For all we know, none of the ultimate players at the schools in the study graduated and/or earned a prestigious scholarship.

So why do schools with high rates of academic achievement tend to have good ultimate teams? Maybe it has something to do with ultimate being a sport popular with upper-middle class nerds, the same kind of people who tend to graduate from elite private universities and receive prestigious scholarships.

Hat tip: Deadspin

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