Some universities, such as Baylor, have made rising in the U.S. News rankings an explicit goal; Arizona State has even made it a financial incentive in the president's contract.
Privately, some admissions deans who dislike the magazine's influence say the rankings have powerful supporters on campus. One dean of a prominent college said it's considered gauche to brag about the school's ranking, but nobody wants to tell parents and alumni they can't do so. Said another: "The biggest issue in the rankings isn't admissions, it's probably fundraising."
It's kind of like a "Freakonomics" question: What is the incentive for a well-ranked school to pull out of the rankings game? Sure, some of them believe that the rankings are one-dimensional, misleading, or even detrimental. But good rankings bring big money. And if you don't think colleges are money-hungry institutions, try living in a building a university wants to buy and tear down to make way for a new arena.
So, looks like USNWR may be safe for now. Lucky for them. They need all the help they can get.