The Ultimate Mystery: Popular Sport Beats SATs at Ranking Universities Academically
A 2006 study ...of all private national universities shows that their ranking in Ultimate Frisbee edges out both SATs and grades as a predictor of academic performance! Those ranked in the top half for Ultimate have a graduation rate of over 85%, while those in the bottom half just 60%. The top seven have nearly as many Rhodes scholars and Marshall scholars as all others combined.
Whether measured by graduation rate or prestigious scholarships – the result is the same. What is this sport that mysteriously divines a university’s stature so precisely? It’s called Ultimate Frisbee, or more commonly just Ultimate. It is the fastest growing college sport and is already played interscholastically at over 500 colleges and universities. While wildly popular on campuses, relatively few in the wider world have even heard of it.
A study ... by Dr. Michael Norden shows that among all 86 private national universities, those ranking in the top half for Ultimate have a graduation rate of over 85%, while those in the bottom half graduate just 60%. The difference in the totals of Rhodes scholars and Marshall scholars among their graduates during this decade is even more dramatic – 208 versus 15. (The odds of this happening by chance are truly infinitesimal). Moreover, the top ten schools based on Ultimate ranking have a slightly higher mean graduation rate and more winners of top scholarships than schools chosen by - not only SATs, but any standard metric including: grades, faculty resources, and financial resources.