|By Jacques Strappe on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:09 am: Edit|
Polish your jock straps, kiddies. Do athletes make out better in competitive college admissions? Do they have to work as hard in class to graduate? Things may be worse (or better--depending on your point of view) than you think. Check this article (Chronicle of Higher Education):
Report Documents Poor Academic Performance of Athletes at New England Liberal-Arts Colleges
By WELCH SUGGS
Athletes have a huge advantage in the admissions process and graduate at a higher rate, yet get relatively poor grades in their classes at some of the Northeast's most prestigious liberal-arts colleges. Those were some of the findings of a report on colleges in the New England Small College Athletic Conference that was completed last month by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation staff and the authors of The Game of Life.
The presidents of the 11 NESCAC institutions released the report on their own campuses last week and issued a joint statement saying that its findings were a cause for concern, and that they would be examining their athletics programs to see whether they were consistent with the conference's core principles.
William D. (Bro) Adams, the president of Colby College and current chairman of the NESCAC, said that the findings for the league closely mirrored those for the institutions surveyed in The Game of Life, the controversial critique of college athletics published in January. (See an article from The Chronicle, February 2.) Four of the NESCAC's members -- Hamilton College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College -- were included in that study, which was written by William G. Bowen and James L. Shulman of the Mellon Foundation.
"The report confirmed some of the more general concerns we had already discussed on the basis of The Game of Life," Mr. Adams said. "Those concerns ought to lead us to a series of reflections on our practices with respect to possible areas of reform."
Those areas, he said, would include admissions practices for athletes and other students; the resources colleges allocate to athletics; conference policies and rules; and "framework issues" such as the structure of the conference and Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which NESCAC members compete.
The NESCAC's teams are among the best in Division III, the only segment of the NCAA's membership that does not permit athletic scholarships. Williams has won the Division III Sears Directors' Cup for the best overall performance of its teams in the country five out of the last six years -- last year, Middlebury College was ranked second; Amherst College, 14th; Tufts, 24th; Hamilton, 41st; and Bates College, 50th out of nearly 400 institutions. (The NESCAC's other members are Bowdoin College, Connecticut College, and Trinity College in Connecticut.)
"The types of students we recruit are the types who are able to do it all," said Harry C. Sheehy III, Williams's athletics director. "They're so bright, and they're able to get their schedules in order."
However, faculty members, athletes, and administrators in the conference struggle over the role of athletics on their campuses more than possibly any other league in the country. The NESCAC's rules are much stricter than the rest of Division III, such as forbidding coaches to recruit off-campus. Only recently did the league begin allowing teams to compete for national championships, and the presidents are still wary of placing too much emphasis on postseason play.
Last month, league members voted to extend for another year an experiment in allowing any eligible teams to go to NCAA tournaments. The association invites the winners of each conference to its championships in most sports, and remaining slots in each tournament are parceled out to the best teams on an "at-large" basis. Numerous NESCAC teams, particularly from Williams, Amherst, and Middlebury, have earned at-large spots in recent years.
In many ways, the problems confronting colleges and their athletics departments are magnified at NESCAC colleges, said Mr. Adams, who was the president of Bucknell University in Division I before coming to Colby. While the economic pressures aren't there, academic issues and the question of whether athletics participation is too intense to accommodate serious students are major controversies because athletes make up such a large percentage of students at small colleges.
"It's a matter of balance -- my concern is that the sense of balance is being lost, and I think you've got to be concerned," Mr. Adams said. "But it's very obvious and significant that wonderful things happen in those [athletics] programs. Kids learn a lot, and the kinds of things they learn are what we want them to be learning."
The concern over postseason play and the NESCAC's athletics "context" prompted a question: Might the league -- whose members are among the country's most prestigious academic institutions as well -- consider dropping out of the NCAA?
It's too soon to discuss that, Mr. Adams said.
"It's one of the things we need to talk about," he said. "It's too early to say what the answer might be."
OP observes: [--None of us ever suspected this, did we?!--] :\=
|By Poorboy on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 06:24 pm: Edit|
I'm shocked! SHOCKED! Athletes have been found to get lower grades than other students? How could we all have been unaware of this phenomenon? Must be a vast right-wing conspiracy.
|By Domer97 on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 09:40 pm: Edit|
Well, the Notre Dame football team hasn't performed on the field this year, but the 2001 team won a national award for highest graduation rate for a Division 1 football team. All 20 players who entered as freshmen in 1996 graduated. They also set some GPA record, but I don't know what that was. Maybe that's their problem - too much time hitting the books!
|By Dave Berry on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 09:05 am: Edit|
From the "DUH!" file, here's the lead story in today's Chronicle of Higher Education update:
"Ivy League to Reconsider Role of Athletics in Admissions, Student Life"
By WELCH SUGGS
"The presidents of the eight Ivy League colleges have asked their athletics directors to study how many athletes they recruit each year, and whether athletes are devoting too much time to their sports. The study comes as colleges of all sizes across the country are debating whether they place too much emphasis on sports.
"Last year, several Ivy League institutions were among a group of elite colleges criticized for admitting too many athletes with lesser academic credentials in The Game of Life (Princeton University Press, 2001). The book, co-written by the former Princeton University president William G. Bowen, noted that recruited athletes, especially in the high-profile sports of men's basketball, football, and ice hockey, tend to underperform academically."
The rest of the story may be found at:
It's about time!
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