Evaluating the Two-Game Road Trip in College Sports: Does a Travel Partner Scheduling Approach Affect Team Competitiveness?
Authors: Mark Mitchell, Samuel Wathen, and Robert Orwig
Mark Mitchell, DBA
Professor of Marketing
Associate Dean, Wall College of Business
NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR)
Coastal Carolina University
P. O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528
Mark Mitchell, DBA is Professor of Marketing at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.
Samuel Wathen, PhDis Professor of Management at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.
Robert Orwig, DBA is Associate Professor of Management at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA.
Evaluating the Impact of Two-Game Road
Trips in College Sports: Does a Travel
Partner Scheduling Approach Affect Team Competitiveness?
Some NCAA athletic conferences have implemented a geographic travel partner strategy when scheduling league games. Teams are organized into two-team clusters. A visiting team comes to the region and plays both opponents during one road trip before returning to campus. Prior research reveals NBA teams tend to have a lower winning percentage when playing back-to-back games on back-to-back evenings. This study examines the performance of college sports teams on two-game road trips to see if the NBA pattern exists in college sports. Game results (and winning percentages) from the Sun Belt Conference for the 2016-17 season are evaluated over four sports (women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball). Team performance in Game 2 was comparable to Game 1 in women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball. Game 2 performance was improved in women’s volleyball. There was not a significant reduction in road team performance in Game 2 of two-game road trips when the quality of the opponent was introduced into the analysis of women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and women’s basketball. However, men’s basketball teams tended to win more often during Game 1 rather than Game 2 when playing comparable opponents. The travel partner scheduling model maximizes player rest, reduces travel time, and minimizes missed class time. This study suggests its implementation does not impact team competitiveness, particularly during Game 2 as found in the NBA. Conference personnel and university athletic administrators may take comfort that their drive to control costs and enhance the student-athlete experience is not impacting the competitiveness of their teams.(more…)