Calvin College and the College of New Jersey top the lists of most efficient NCAA Division III athletic programs.
A new study by Russ Kashian, professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, examined how effectively universities used resources to score points in the Directors' Cup competition - a broad-based mark of success for college athletics.
"There is a select group of schools that is markedly more efficient than the rest," Kashian said. "If an athletic department's goal is to accumulate Directors' Cup Points and win championships, further examination of this data can provide a roadmap on how to improve operations - whether it be adding appropriate sports or altering spending patterns."
Using data from 2007-12, the study reviewed recruiting expenses per student, operating expenses for athletic programs, the number of men's and women's sports participants, size of school, number of coaches per athletic sport, and whether the school was public or private.
The study revealed several trends, Kashian said. Overall, private schools had the highest efficiency scores, as did larger public universities.
Four schools from the University of Wisconsin System made the top 10.
"It's likely that there are structural characteristics in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference that lead those schools to be extremely efficient," Kashian said. "We don't know exactly what those are - they could be policy-related, but the result is very noticeable."
Jeff Pagel, junior economics major, co-authored the study.