Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Firing Back

Athletic Director Harry Sheehy and Maria Laskaris, the college's dean of admissions and financial aid, have responded to the Daily Dartmouth opinion piece (link) on the value of athletic admissions with a guest column headlined, Laskaris & Sheehy: Defending Our Student-Athletes.

Included in the piece:
In the two most prominent national measures of academic success among student-athletes, Dartmouth ranked third out of 351 Division I colleges in 2010-11, both in National Collegiate Athletic Association Academic Progress Rate commendations and the NCAA Graduation Success Rate.

The combined graduation rate for the last five classes of Dartmouth’s recruited student-athletes — 95.3 percent — is slightly higher than the overall rate for the undergraduate student body of 94.6 percent.

Finally, this past term, Dartmouth’s varsity athletes collectively earned their highest average Fall term grade point average in eight years, with more than 40 percent achieving GPAs above 3.5 and nearly 80 percent above 3.0.
The column finishes with this:
Dartmouth takes great pride in its student-athletes and their exceptional contributions both in and out of the classroom. The Dartmouth’s editorial suggests that greater success in athletics might allow for a less stringent set of standards for recruits. We could not disagree more. The College remains firmly committed to pursuing excellence in athletics while steadfastly embracing the Ivy League ideal that our student-athletes must be representative of our outstanding student body.
John Engleman '68 turns the Daily Dartmouth opinion piece on its head in a letter to the editor. To paraphrase his point, at its own disgression the college can admit anyone it wants who is not a student-athlete, regardless of GPA or test scores. But if the candidate happens to be a student-athlete, the college cannot admit him/her without certain GPA/test scores per the Academic Index established by the Ivy League.

In other words, there are students at all of the Ivy League schools who would not have been admitted if they were student-athletes.

Check out a New York Times follow story to its recent piece on the AI addressing exactly that poing.

Interestingly, given the back-and-forth, when I was meeting with Coach Buddy Teevens about the early decision recruiting class I happened to spot former offensive tackle Will Montgomery's '11 honors thesis, "An Investigation into the Reactivity of Cyanoindole Compound." Will is now a teaching assistant at the University of Texas and on his way to his PhD, probably studying something I can't pronounce, let alone spell.

Interestingly II: In a completely unrelated development, last night I shared a link to the story I wrote about Luke Hussey with an athlete who would be a tremendous asset to the Dartmouth community.

It's official. Former Dartmouth defensive coordinator Don Brown withdrew from the Yale search after reports that he was set to be named the Bulldogs' head coach. The Hartford Courant has a story and there's another in the New Haven Register. There's also a story in the Yale Daily News.

The only Ivy Leaguer named to the College Sporting News Fabulous Fifty All-America Team was honorable-mention selection Josue Ortiz of Harvard.

The final Sports Network rankings are in and Harvard finished at No. 16 and Brown at No. 46. Lehigh of the Patriot League was No. 5 and New Hampshire No. 11.

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