The Value of Talent Recruitment: Analyzing the Impact of Ethnic Campus Diversity and Social Movements in College Football Recruiting
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
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Many U.S. higher education institutions compete for top talent in academics, administration, and athletics. Particularly college football is a major business and marketing tool for promoting the university to current and prospective stakeholders. Therefore, the recruitment of top athletic talent is crucial and considered to be the “lifeblood” of every college football program. The purpose of this thesis is to quantify the potential underlying effect of campus ethnic diversity (CDI) levels affecting college choice decisions among high school football recruits within an otherwise highly business-focused system. Most recruiting outcomes can be explained using classical rational-choice theory while an extension of this theory (using the concept of value-oriented social action) is required to explain the effect of campus ethnic diversity as another decision factor in the process. This effect could also impact internal university brand identification (UBI) among the student body. Utilizing fixed effects (FE) regression methods, the generated results show that some high school football recruits consider campus ethnic diversity as a college choice decision factor in certain recruiting cycles (2018 and 2021) during the analyzed period of 2017-2021. In a qualitative secondary-analysis study, using available (Berkman Klein Center) Media Cloud platform data, the main study results can be explained by relatively high online media news coverage associated with the global BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. The analysis results suggest that major public universities (FBS schools) reporting low campus ethnic diversity levels could be disadvantaged when competing for nationally ranked high school football recruits during times of high societal tensions. Since the United States will experience a significant demographic shift in the next decade, some universities should analyze their strategic and geographic positions with respect to their peer institutions and generally boost their ethnic diversity make-ups among student bodies and faculty to attract even more high-quality diverse talent in the future.