Monday, October 2, 2017

OSCAR Student James Murray Analyzes if Local Economic Dependence on Universities Influences the Prevalence of NCAA Sanctions for Division 1 Football and Basketball Programs

Hi there! My name is Jayme Murray and I am a senior from Alexandria, Virginia. I am currently pursuing two degrees, one in Economics with a concentration in managerial economics, and the other in Global and Environmental Change. With the support of OSCAR and my mentor, Aaron Mulhollen, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science (GGS), I was able to analyze whether or not a local economic dependence on a college/university influences the prevalence of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sanctions for Division 1 football and men’s basketball programs.

I first heard about this research after taking a class with Professor Rice in the Department of GGS. This past spring I finished up a four-year career where I played on the intercollegiate baseball team here at Mason, which is where a lot of my interest in this project stemmed from. In combination with my experience as a student-athlete at the Division 1 level and as an economics major, I was confident that my mentor and I would be able to put the OSCAR grant to good use and produce high quality research.

A typical day for me, especially in the early stages of our research process, was dedicated primarily to gathering and organizing data from a public database provided by the NCAA. Although this was one of the first stages of our research process it was also one of the most important because the data collected in this stage would be used throughout the rest of our research. As we progressed through our research I began to switch my focus from data collection to data application and writing literature reviews.

The results that Aaron and I have gathered so far support our hypothesis, however we aren’t done there as we look to continuing to expand our research this upcoming fall. The long-term goal of our project is to become published in an academic journal, and thanks to the OSCAR grant, we are well on our way to achieving this goal.

As a senior who aspires to attend graduate school, this experience has proven to be invaluable as I continue to progress towards my long-term goals, among them is earning a PhD in Economics. Working with Aaron has been beyond anything I could’ve imagined, I learn something new from him every step of the way. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from this experience is that many great discoveries in today’s society don’t happen overnight, however through persistence and a process-driven mindset we are able to achieve much more than first imagined.