Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Raymond Sauer

Committee Member

Lawrence (Reed) Watson

Committee Member

Scott Templeton


Over the past few decades, NCAA Division 1-A FBS football has exploded in popularity and revenue generation. With recent TV rights deals for “Power Five” conferences inching into the yearly payout range of billions, the stakes have never been higher to compete and win at the highest level of collegiate football. Despite this growth in revenue and popularity, the NCAA football model and transfer rules remained largely stagnant until the rapid liberalization of its policies began in 2018. A more streamlined approach to the transfer process, reduced restrictions on eligibility requirements, and increased financial incentives for college athletes have changed the competitive landscape across all NCAA sports. This paper aims to describe the current FBS football environment by creating a chronological summary of the changes to its regulations and then analyzing trends in talent allocation and competitive balance both in Power 5 conferences and the ACC specifically, utilizing various methods. These analyses provide insight in an economic context into the effects of lifting a labor mobility restriction and the subsequent impacts on market share, employee preferences, and firm outcomes. Data shows that since 2019, “Power-Five” conference football has not become statistically significantly more competitive when analyzing the dispersion of win percentages across each conference as a measure of market concentration. Though, competitiveness is trending towards a more balanced level as a whole. Transfer activity within the ACC has also increased, with fewer athletes transferring to the D1- “FCS” level since the implementation of the one-time immediate eligibility transfer waiver in 2021. ACC programs have also become more likely to accept FCS transfers. From 2019-2022, the win production gap between the ACC’s historically top and bottom-performing teams has narrowed compared to pre-2019 levels. Results do not support that teams following a high transfer philosophy have been more 3 successful. ACC teams with high net and transfer proportion values lost win share relative to historical relationships with low transfer utilizing teams, comparing performance pre- and post2019. There is evidence that the payoffs to a high transfer philosophy may be lagged. Though, the observation period is not wide enough to make this conclusion.



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