We wrote this book because the economists in us began to see that many pre-
conceived and deeply emotional notions in sports are simply not true. And
upon further consideration, we began to see that these “misunderstandings”
actually hinder the games we love.
Nicely put, if we do say so ourselves. Whereas a traditional concluding chapter would offer further research areas or simply summarize the myths busted, that is not the intent of this section. Instead, we just want to contribute some orderly thinking to intuitive belief in order to reveal a few final truths and identify some culprits. You see, there is some coherence across the myths on a couple of dimensions. Overall, the myths, as a collection, work just as we claimed in the Introduction: They are based on arguments that appeal to intuition; some people benefit from the perpetuation of the myths and others pay as a result; and they occur in settings where analysis isn’t done, holds no sway, or is shunned completely. Much to our dismay, the other commonality across the myths in this book is that they all continue to prevail (and probably will continue to do so despite our best efforts to the contrary).
One reason this is so is that people seem satisfied enough to act on simple correlation. Title IX is put in place, and men’s teams get cut at a few colleges. The culprit is obvious—namely, Title IX, rather than the discretion allowed to athletic directors pointed out in the first few chapters. Player pay increases at dramatic rates and so do ticket prices (or cable subscriptions), and fan wrath turns to players rather than their own voracious spending on sports. Sometimes this desire to act on correlation itself falls on inconsistency. After all, how can the football and men’s basketball teams pay for the rest of the athletic department and, at the same time, the athletic department is viewed as a drain on the rest of the university? Our apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it appears that foolish inconsistency is sometimes the