Silly nerdlings. Institutions that shun sports are passing up valuable opportunities. It's no wonder they can't sell science in this country.
From an institutional perspective, sports is about establishing and deepening the bond between the general public and the educational institution. Every contact with the public and alumni is a sales opportunity. It's the opportunity to establish the institutions brand, sell the University to prospective students, prospective donors, and prospective political supporters. It also helps support the local economy around the institution by attracting visitors and commerce.
I wish Emory University had sports. If they did, they wouldn't have to prey on the public with their completely worthless high dollar continuing education certificate programs.