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Study links winning football team to falling college grades

Jayton Jenkins remembers the highlight of his college years at Steven F. Austin, when the lumberjacks played in the division I football playoffs for the first time in the school's history.

"We were celebrating a lot, so my grades sort of took a back seat," Jenkins said.

That may be common on campus. A new study by the University of Oregon looked at college male's grades for nearly a decade and found as the team won, grades fell. Some believe the campus is a good testing ground for the study. The Oregon Ducks won the Rose Bowl Monday and that follows a national championship last year. Football fans seem to buy into the research.

"If you are a big fan of partying, then I can see how a winning team could distract you from studying," college graduate, Eric Mask, said.

Football fans are getting their fill of the sport this week with plenty of bowl games being played. In a twist, the study found that a winning team only seemed to impact men and not women.

"When it come to sports men just have that fascination and they will let things slide," Executive Director of The Waterton Group, James Denke, said.

For several years, Denke has helped students of all ages achieve better test scores. He isn't surprised by the Oregon study results because he says he already has found some of the same sports impact percolating on the high school level, among boys.

"Students will show up late because they had a late bus ride home or there was that emotional time after losing the state championship where that stress carries over to the test day."

The Oregon study also showed that besides women, high achievers may also be immune to the distraction of a winning football team.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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