Texas Educational Excellence Program is a program at Texas A&M University to carry out research on the quality and equity of education in the state of Texas and to disseminate this research in form that can prove useful to policy makers and administrators. As part of this program, a number of studies have been carried out, investigating affects of various factors on academic performance of schools and have been published as quarterly reports. This paper critically reviews one of such reports which investigate the effect of athletic budget on the academic performance of schools (Texas A & M University 2010)


The report titled “A Lingering Question of Priorities” highlights the findings of a research carried out as part of the Texas Educational Excellence Project in 2001. The research in this report attempts to carve up a relationship between athletics and academic performances of students in Texas schools. The research also considers the role of several independent variable as well which affect the performance of students both in academics and sports. The main research question in this report is the schools’ ability to pursue divergent goals, make student successful in both academic and athletic fields. This research was undertaken to judge how much divergent the goals of achieving success in sports and academics are. In this regard, the research studied how expenditures on athletic budgets in school districts are related to the academic performance of schools in several districts. It found that the overall performance of students was negatively affected by expenditure on athletes. It was found that the athletic expenditures positively correlated with the attendance of students but this relationship did not meet the traditional level of statistical significance. It was also found that athletics also had effect on student basic skills performance, however, no statistically significant relationship was revealed between athletic expenditures and student performance. The third finding of the research that the athletic budget had an inverse relationship with the college entrance exam score. It was found that schools with large budget for athletics were expected to have students which were less likely to take college entrance exams and score high even if they take it (Meier et al. 2001).

A thorough reading of the report reveals several strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses of the report include limitations and bias of research (Rosen and Behrens 2003). For example, the author of the report stating

“…Our findings here only a single state…” (Meier et al. 2001)

shows that the findings of this research in the report cannot be considered for generalization due to limitation on the studied population. Furthermore, since the report describes a study which was carried out in the state of Texas which according to the authors has “fanatical devotion to high school athletics”, the study could be considered as a bias as the difference in devotion to athletics in other states may lead to different conclusion on the relationship. This limitation and biasness is also recognized by authors, as the report mentions

“…we cannot be sure that these results will be corroborated” (Meier et al. 2001)

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