David J. Berri
The purpose of this paper is to investigate competitive balance across three team sports played under the auspices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. On the surface, such a topic appears quite straightforward. The reader should be warned, though, that the discussion of this straightforward topic will take a long and winding road till it reaches its final destinations. The road will begin, not in college, but with a review of the level of competitive balance achieved by a variety of professional team sports. From professional sports we will move on to a brief discussion of two apparently unrelated topics, macroeconomics and evolutionary biology. Only after such side trips will we return to the topic of interest, competitive balance in college sports.
Competitive balance in team sports is typically examined for an individual sport, with the primary topic being the impact various institutions and policies have upon the dispersion of wins. 1 Inter-sport comparisons, in contrast, are not frequently offered. An exception to this general trend is the seminal work of Quirk and Fort (1994). 2 who did offer measures of competitive balance 3 for the four major North American professional team sports leagues: