Either go big, Bulldogs, or just go home

Stanford University is sometimes touted as the “Harvard of the West,” but unlike Harvard, it routinely sells out its basketball stadium. And during this year’s NCAA Championship Tournament, Stanford — not Harvard — advanced to the Sweet 16. Its football team plays at I-A, the conference’s highest level, and its coaches often recruit the best athletes with large scholarships. Still, Stanford boasts enough academic clout that my roommate had to flip a coin in order to choose between the Cardinal and the Bulldogs.

While no one doubts Yale’s academic prestige, our mainstream athletics programs, including football and basketball, are laughable. Yale competes in the second-tier I-AA conference for football and only ever gets a stab at a NCAA Basketball Tournament berth because of inclusion in the Ivy League. We would not be able to fill our stadium even if we had Bono playing QB and Oprah kicking field goals.

We’re left asking: How does Stanford do it? They seem to have the best of both the academic and athletic worlds. Surely this configuration comes at the cost of a student body divided along a school-sports boundary. However, it’s not Stanford’s athletic superiority that effects the divide. Any Eli, especially he who ventures to Commons after 7 p.m. or to Toad’s on a Wednesday night, can see there is a real cultural rift between our mediocre varsity athletes and non-athletes at Yale. It’s not surprising. The members of varsity sports teams — even the bad ones — spend most of their time together (both on and off the field), so they naturally grow closer with one other. Back in the common room, meanwhile, where non-athletes are whining about midterms, they remark how their athlete roommates are never around — a symbolic rift widens between them. Does Stanford’s superior athletics program mean this divide is that much worse on the West Coast?

The theory behind Yale’s residential-college system, which creates “microcosms of the University as a whole,” shows no signs of social imbalance. When asked about athletes, University officials are quick to point out that Yale does not recruit, does not offer athletic scholarships and does not waver from standards of high academic excellence. The truth of the matter, as many freshmen discover, is the contrary: Yale coaches recruit. But unable to offer athletic scholarships, they cannot recruit anyone with any real talent. While other schools justify these kinds of scholarships by pointing to sold-out stadiums, the Ivy League persists under the weight of its own academic standards.

We pretend to be an elite academic institution where students of different backgrounds and interests exchange ideas in environments designed to foster communication — like the residential colleges. But, one cannot forget that we also admit recruited athletes who are, for the most part, of a substandard academic caliber and more likely to be apathetic toward collegiate academia.

We watch admissions videos of smiling students intelligently questioning professors, but in reality, we witness the disruption of large lectures by disrespectful athletes who are barely surviving gut classes. Furthermore, we find that coaches wish they could recruit the top athletes who are far below academic standards. There is a disconnect between our vision of academic excellence and the reality of our pursuit.

Should we imitate smaller liberal arts schools, reducing our athletics programs and downgrading to Division III? This may seem like an attractive option to erudite students who wish “that new football stadium we’re building” would be “that new particle accelerator we’re building.” Nevertheless, the athletics program is important to many like alumni who view athletics as a way of staying in touch with their alma mater (Many, it seems, would discontinue their donations if they discovered that the sons of Eli weren’t breaking through the line anymore). The genius of David Swenson’s investing aside, keeping those alumni happy should be a priority.

In the words of my high-school lacrosse coach, I believe the best solution is to go big or go home. If we can’t reduce our athletics programs to eliminate the athlete/non-athlete culture rift, we might as well accept it and try to recruit the best athletes possible.

If that guy in section who didn’t do his reading because he was doing wind sprints must stay, he might as well be running a 4.3 40 and taking us to a national championship! If that means setting up special tutoring programs to help athletes who are struggling academically, so be it. The financial benefits will vastly outweigh the costs. Furthermore, we have a tangible model to emulate: If the Harvard of the West can do it, why not us? Look out, Stanford — what kind of mascot is a tree, anyway? Final Four, here we come!

Ned Fulmer is a junior in Pierson College.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Comparing Stanford's athletics to Yale's athletics is like comparing apples to oranges. Stanford is a member of the Pac-10 conference and gives out full athletic scholarships, whereas Yale is restricted by the rules and regulations of the Ivy League.

  • awesome-o

    I agree. let's get rid of athletic recruiting. while we're at it, let's atop considering race and background in admissions as well. finally, we can fill a class with perfect 1600's from phillips exeter.

  • Anon

    Your statements are way off-base.

  • Stanford 07

    Good Point Ned, though you Yalies have a great deal to learn. 1) Stanford is no Harvard of the West. We are Stanford, period. With sunshine, happiness, and a non-crappy campus with matching student body, like, ahem, Hahvard. 2) A student/student-athlete divide exists at all schools with athletics, but only to the extent that you let it. In my house for example, we have baseball, football, golf, tennis, track, and wrestling with the other half of the house as non-athletes. We are bonded by common desire for "college fun." 3) You guys have a few billion in your endowment to spare. Endow your sports programs, offer scholarships to students with good academics and athletic potential, and crush your ivy rivals. Your rivals' donors might get tired of being slapped around, and press their schools for action to counter the Eli offensive. This is America, let healthy competition sort it out. 4) As awesome and dumb as our Tree is, it isn't our official mascot. The color Cardinal is.

    Go Card! Enjoy those New Haven winters.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder why the athletes don't socialize with non-athletes when they are writing newspaper articles about how substandard they are both physically and mentally.

  • Eleven

    So Mr. Fulmer here is complaining that intellectually inferior athletes is ruining his college experience by separating themselves from the non-athletes. His solution is to up athletics level to the top of Division I. The number of problems in his argument rivals the number of mistakes made in the Bay of Pigs invasion.

    First, show me proof where Yale or any Ivy institution explicitly states that they do not recruit athletes. There exists none. Furthermore, did you, Mr. Fulmer, not get mail countless mail, packages, and visits to your school from various colleges when you were in high school? Were you not invited onto campus for a paid visit to campus to check out all of the classes and libraries? What separates your recruitment from that of a student athlete? You will argue that the lowered admission standards for these stupid jocks who probably couldn't find their mouth with their spoon eating cereal in the morning. Then I point to the top debate student, the top pianist, and the top artist who all have lower than average SAT's. You note that these stupid jocks can't survive the intellectual conquests which you seek everyday, but their average SAT's and GPA's is at the level of the three brilliant individuals above.

    Which leads to the next factor, which you will argue that these athletes aren't as good in their respective fields as the superstar mathletes. Again, the biased ignorance exposes itself when the author homogenizes the athletes as second rate and can't compete. The truth is that aside from football, every other one of the 34 varsity sports at Yale competes at the highest level of college athletics. Off the top of my mind, I know that the squash teams, women's lacrosse, and crew are perennial top 25 powers in the country. On a broader scale, every school in the Ivy League has won multiple NCAA national championships in various sports since 2000. The truth is, Yale has low revenue sports which are truly elite.

    Then Mr. Fulmer will point to football and basketball, which seems to be the only sports he believes exist on this campus. This issue is so incredibly complicated, yet all he proposes is to lower admission standards and watch the trophies flow in. FBS Football and high-major D-I hoops operates differently from the rest of the college sports in one critical factor - money. Texas football program collected $63.8 million in revenue and $43.2 million in profits last year, and national champions Kansas basketball program drew in $13.2 million and $7 million, respectively. These successful teams need the money to operate the top notch facilities, the highest recruiting budget, and the other selling factors to attract top recruits. So even if we could convince a five-star recruit to conveniently overlook the $49,000 tab that he'll have to pay to come to Yale for a visit, the facilities at Smilow Field House, John. J. Lee Amphitheater will have them sprinting back towards the airport at much faster than 4.3. Yale does not come close to holding the fan base, the campus population, and alumni athletics focus in order to raise the money needed for high level competition in these sports. You point to Stanford, but Yale will never draw the same fan base in New England that Stanford holds in California. Yale students won't shift to being Duke-like basketball worshippers anytime soon either, and the hoops team will need a lot more money for any semblance of a competitive facility. Besides, Stanford is a dismal 20-48 in football since 2002. Is that what we want to strive for?

    In all, the changes that Mr. Fulmer imagines are about as realistic as flying broomsticks chasing a golden winged ball. The athletics programs are already successful in many ways, but no one on campus cares about them anyways. The biggest joke of his article comes at the end, when he seeks that top recruit in search of the national championship and completely ignores the social divides which he whined about the whole time.

    Oh, and the All-Conference senior in football this year? Going to Harvard Law School.

    Sincerely,

    A "Normie" (That's non-athlete, for the politically correct)

  • Anonymous

    We shouldn't stop athletic recruiting, but we should hold athletes to higher academic standards. Yale sports teams will get worse, but who will care? It's not like they're that good as it is. Athletics and education go hand in hand, but it's not like the school has any reason to want its athletes to be competing at the very limits of human performance. The school would be better off if they relied on recruits that would be admitted independent of their athletic abilities, even if that meant that our teams were worse. If anything, athletic talent should mean as much in the admissions process as musical / acting / other extracurricular talent. I invite anyone to try to convince me that maintaining the status quo is a good idea.

  • Charlotte

    There are so many things I could say about this terrible article , but since I had to get up at 5 AM for practice and have two papers due tomorrow all I have to say is if Ned is symbol of a non-athlete Yalie, why the hell would any of us want to hang out with him?

  • DN

    Ned, do you like to play squash? lift weights? play golf? shoot hoops in the lanman center? Play some ultimate on the IM fields?

    You do? Sweet, because all of those facilities and most others were donated and maintained through funds donated by previous athletes. So take a moment and think of what you get as a general student because of athletics because of the hard work, sweat, and money of previous athletes.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you should have gone to Stanford instead! Your article is contradictory. You complain about the academic qualities of current athletes (an untrue and very unfair stereotype by the way), yet you suggest Yale lower its academic standards to the gutter to bring in star athletes on scholarships. ????

  • Anonymous

    Good thing this article was written about athletes and not the Women's Center. Sure would not want to offend anyone

  • Anonymous

    This guy's a herb.

  • Anonymous

    Where there's a ned, there's a terrible columnist.

  • Yale 99

    Ned- Did it ever occur to you that this athlete/non-athlete divide you speak of is perpetuated by non-athletes as well. Many recruited athletes are judged by their peers from the moment they step on campus. Assumptions are made that these "meatheads" will "disrupt" their classes instead of adding anything to them. Perhaps if the non-athletes attempted to support the sports teams instead of judging, the athlete/non-athlete divide would disappear. Your article assumes the burden of segregation falls entirely on the athletes on campus.

    Second, you yourself were a lacrosse player in high school and clearly learned a valuable lesson from your coach. Many athletes love their sport and value the educational lessons that can be taken from competing at the next level - teamwork, leadership, time management, etc. Many do not do it for the glory of a national championship. The skills learned by participating serve athletes greatly after graduation and make them highly respected colleagues. Ned, your bitterness will never make you a valued member of any team because you are so quick to point out the flaws and offer no helpful solutions.

  • athlete

    Well Ned Fulmer, at least this article generated discussion. Judging from a google of your name, it appears that this article is the most noteworthy feat you have accomplished in your years at Yale. Congratulations on making a name for yourself by denigrating the actual work of your peers.
    If you are so depressed over how woefully inadequate Yale's athletic programs are, lace up some cleats, hit the weight room, and make a contribution rather than illogically insulting the group of people who work to improve, and who succeed on a national level regularly.

  • Anonymous

    The residential college system is stupid. It's a clever way to make it easier for shy bookworms to make friends. It is also, in my opinion, the reason that most "normies" have more pride in their residential college than they do in YALE UNIVERSITY as a whole. Perhaps if everyone wasn't so wrapped up in their stupid residential colleges, they might become fans of the Yale Bulldogs and not the Silliman Sillimanders or the Stiles Mooses or whatever other stupid names they've come up with. Varsity athletics need support from the student body, not bitter newspaper articles written by people who don't have any idea what they're talking about calling them stupid and inferior.

  • Anonymous

    As a non-athlete I am saying this and would say this to your face… you are so wrong on this issue I don't even know where to begin… someone is jealous and bitter!

  • ad

    ned, have you forgotten the grade curves?

  • Anonymous

    As a non athlete student, all of have to say is "WOW". You really have no clue what you're talking about. You're pretty much a disgrace to the University… a lot my athlete friends are smarter than I'll ever be. Get a clue!

  • Anonymous Guy

    "We watch admissions videos of smiling students intelligently questioning professors, but in reality, we witness the disruption of large lectures by disrespectful athletes who are barely surviving gut classes."

    First off, as a football player, I must say this article is offensive and shameful. If one were to go after women or other groups with such negative stereotypes, they would face the discipline committee, but you have chosen a visible, vulnerable target so you should pat yourself on the back.
    I am glad you think that athletes disrupt your classes and are non-contributors to the Yale society. Because non-athletes don't whisper in class and don't come to class unprepared -- only jocks do that…
    As a favor to you, I won't even go into all of the contradictions and absurdities of your paper.

  • horrified

    Ned- I hope your comedy routine as director of the Purple Crayon Comedy Troupe is better than your writing. Second, I hope that people do not criticize your participation in your extracurricular activity because you are not on par with the cast of Saturday Night Live. I mean why bother having an improv group if you are not as good as Second City. The analogy is no different than the one you pose about our athletic programs.

  • RPW

    I'm guessing Ned has been getting his jealous butt kicked for a long time.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Fulmer has an interesting argument. While he does generalize to a large extent, he does identify the significant gap that exists between many athletes and non-athletes. People should not be so overly critical; rather pay attention to his arguments and and consider the fact that there is a divide here and something needs to be done. This an important issue that affects all of us so let's not make this a personal attack

  • adc

    Ned sounds jealous about a lot of things in this article. I have had sections with only athletes and sections with only non-athletes. To be honest, there really isn't much of a difference. In fact, the biggest difference I've seen is that a section full of non-athletes tends to be a bigger waste of time. Why? because there are more than a few non-athletes that like to give nonsensical, irrelevant, multi-syllabic comments just to fill that sense of self-importance they have.

    That said, there are a few (and I mean only a few) football players that walk around Toads thinking they own the place and starting fights with people at least 40 pounds lighter than them that need to learn that they aren't important and that they would get it handed to them at any state school.

  • Kaitie

    Oooooh the irony!
    Well done, Ned! This article is extraordinarily articulate and your points are argued with such brillance and clarity! Not only do you back up every seemingly ignorant point with solid fact and valid information, but you showcase your own literary expertise by effortlessly flowing from one irrelevant argument to the next.
    The whole concept was just so well thought out that I can't EVEN beleive you used to play lacrosse. As an ex-Yale athlete myself, I can say that this piece is reeking of academic prowess that no one that's ever played a sport could ever hope to muster. You clearly just rode the bench, you non-athlete genius, you.

  • WOW

    Ned

    Has it ever occurred to you that many of the athletes at Yale bypassed full-ride division I scholarships in order to attend this prestigious university? I know I have friends who play football, basketball, track and field, hockey and other varsity sports who have turned down offers from University of Miami, Davidson, UCLA, USC, ASU, Arizona, University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Stanford and countless other universities, however, they all chose to come to Yale and pay the outrageous tuition in order to receive the best education that the world can offer. To say that the athletes here are mediocre compared to other division I athletes is outlandish. Varsity athletes in most sports here at Yale compete on the highest level in the NCAA, playing against the best teams, such as UCLA, ASU, Stanford, Kansas, Baylor etc., and players in the nation and for the most part, they hold their own, even ending up victorious. I would get my facts straight before making up such untruths.

  • Concerned

    I've talked to a lot of people today who have said that they agree in principle with most of what Ned here has written. Although he definitely avoided some tact in making his arguments (there are some major generalizations about the academic qualities of Yale's athletes), it is worth noting that many non-athletes at Yale really do sympathize with some--if not all--of his arguments. We need to remember that this letter was clearly not meant to be a personal attack on athletes, but instead, I think, identifying a current state where we have decent athletes who are decent students. This is a middle ground. All this author is saying is that he would prefer the extremes on either side: either, on one side, extremely competitive athletes with no academic standards whatsoever or, on the other, Yale abolishing recruiting, maintaining strict academic standards for all those admitted, and dropping to a less competitive league. By my reckoning, all this guy is saying is that he prefers either of those two extremes over the current middle ground approach.

  • Parent

    It appears as if Ned is only perpetuating
    the "divide" that exists between athletes
    and others. From my experience, my
    child's teammates are as intelligent as
    any other student at Yale and do not come
    off as "dumb jocks." On the contrary,
    not only must they compete, travel and
    practice, but must also complete assignments, take tests and compete in the classroom as well. Perhaps they
    are even "smarter" than you, Ned, as
    they are able to keep their academics
    up in addition to their athletic
    participation.

  • WYB

    Well alright. The challenge here you obviously brought up to the happy, over-eager listeners everywhere needs everybody’s dedication. I don’t agree with this guy, but a divide does exist, and we need to think seriously about it if we’re going to make progress anytime soon.

  • Anonymous

    You have no idea what you're talking about Fulmer. As an athlete, I have to do just as much work as any non-athlete in half the time. Your entire argument was not only off-base but completely contradictory. You need to get a clue and jump off your high horse.

  • Anonymous

    get a clue Ned hope you are ready to reaped repercussions of this article because you just pissed off about every athlete at Yale.

  • dum jok

    i don't know what all the fuss is aboot…although chasing a golf ball around for 4 hours isn't physically enduring, it technically is a sport, and therefore i was unable to pay attention to ned flanders' argument long enough to read the whole thing.

    who's going to toads tomorrow?

    -dum jok

  • Anonymous

    Ned,

    You ask how Stanford does it. Well, let me tell you. First, by also taking second class students. In my high school class 14 got into Stanford and 3 got into Yale. All 3 who got into Yale got into Stanford. Only 1 of the overlap went to Stanford. Second, Stanford's athletes are not recruited for or particularly known for their intelligence. In my high school class the football player recruited by Stanford, an all-state linebacker had Cs, never saw an AP class and was good-natured, extremely athletically talented, and, how do I put this nicely…dumb.

  • Anonymous

    Sure Ned's arguments weren't perfect but this is a really tough issue. I'm glad he brought up that, no matter how diverse athletes might make our surroundings here at Yale, there are times when hoards of athletes in certain classes make attaining an intellectual environment in the classroom a complete impossibility. This is really frustrating considering so many of us were promised when we decided to sign up (and pay huge sums) for the mentally enriching Yale experience.

    kudos

    (of course there are a plethora of brilliant athletes at Yale as well but I don't believe they're the ones being addressed in this article)

  • Anonymous

    Doesn't this athlete/non-athlete "divide" exist everywhere? It was there in high school and I would bet it exists on every college campus. It is not a "Yale" experience.

  • athlete

    Hey yeah, ever think that athletes do just as much as you do and work just as hard as you do, except they do it after a weekend of traveling to away matches, or after waking up at 6 for morning practice, or after getting back to their rooms for the first time at 8 PM. I'm not saying that every athlete is superior to every non-athlete, I'm just saying you need to walk a day in an athlete's shoes before you go generalizing like that.

  • tsk tsk

    I dare you to call one of the members of the 2007 Women's NCAA Champion Varsity Eight Boat a mediocre athlete. Or tell them that they aren't smart enough to be here.

    Most athletes work harder than you'll ever know outside of the classroom, and still have their shit together academically in spite of the fact that more is demanded of them than out of anyone else at this school.

    I guess if someone can't waste time in their common room playing Halo and procrastinating with their suite mates, then they don't belong at Yale.

  • Anonymous

    As a member of the swim team, I loved what you had to say about our athletic programs. As someone who only competes to be the best in the nation, I can not stand being surrounded by these losers who compete for the love of their sport. I am disgusted by how these teams are so close and committed to each other, and it pains me to see them forging strong friendships in place of bringing home national titles.

    Also, I go to Toad's every Wednesday and Saturday, take all meals in Commons, and I run lots of wind sprints. I have no friends in my residential college, and no respect for Yale's tradition of academic excellence. I am failing human societies, as well as a few other gut classes, and I come in late to all lectures. I do whatever I can to widen the gap between athletes and non-athletes at Yale.

    Thank you for your objective look at athletics at Yale, you really seem to understand what it is like to be on a worthless team that does nothing but contribute to the downfall of our university.

  • Anonymous

    As a member of the swim team, I loved what you had to say about our athletic programs. As someone who only competes to be the best in the nation, I can not stand being surrounded by these losers who compete for the love of their sport. I am disgusted by how these teams are so close and committed to each other, and it pains me to see them forging strong friendships in place of bringing home national titles.

    Also, I go to Toad's every Wednesday and Saturday, take all meals in Commons, and I run lots of wind sprints. I have no friends in my residential college, and no respect for Yale's tradition of academic excellence. I am failing human societies, as well as a few other gut classes, and I come in late to all lectures. I do whatever I can to widen the gap between athletes and non-athletes at Yale.

    Thank you for your objective look at athletics at Yale, you really seem to understand what it is like to be on a worthless team that does nothing but contribute to the downfall of our university.

  • Anonymous

    Athletes are in Commons after 7 PM because after taking the 2:15 bus out to the field house for a 2.5 hour practice or 3 hour practice and lift, it is usually the only dining hall open when we finally get back to campus. Athletes aren't standing at the door screening Regs at Commons, we just are on different time schedule. Also last time I checked Toads was not part of Yale University so I'm not sure how it can be used to bolster an athlete/non-athlete rift argument at Yale. The only rift that usually occurs at Toads is Yale verses Q-Pac.

  • Anonymous

    If Ned Fulmer thinks athletes here are stupid and detract for the academic commmunity, I'd really like to see him last a semester in an athlete-filled class at a scholarship-heavy state school. Never mind the rates of graduation or arrests of the athletes at those schools.

  • Anonymous

    While i understand Mr. Fulmer's frustration with those student athletes who do not take their education as seriously as they should, i am frustrated that, as a journalist, he would jump to such judgemental and largely unfounded conclusions based on common stereotypes and a small but unfortunatley promenant subset of the student- athlete population.

  • Anonymous

    "But unable to offer athletic scholarships, they cannot recruit anyone with any real talent."

    Ned, when is the last time you checked out the Yale Athletics website?

    Tess Gerrand is a WORLD CHAMPION rower.
    Alex Righi got 2nd at the NCAAs.
    Lindsay Donaldson is All-American, AGAIN.
    Lauren Taylor leads the country in goals per game.
    The women's crew team went undefeated last year, winning the NCAA title.

    Before you criticize Eli athletes, at least have your facts straight.

  • Anon Athlete

    Wow, I cannot believe this article. Ned, your comments were absolutely absurd. You don't have any idea what it takes to be a student athlete. Spending 25 hours a week with teammates over the same sport is obviously going to create some shared connection that won't be replicated off the field. Not quite the same as IMs, which you so dearly play. On top of that, student athletes still have to manage classes, just like you do, but without the luxury of time. Way to go ahead and reinforce stereotypes. I think the smartest person I know at this school is an athlete. So go talk to some athletes to get a real idea of what the picture is, and try to rely less on sterotypes.

  • Anonymous

    I might find your argument about disruptive athletes in the classroom more persuasive if you yourself did not consistently show up late to class, if at all, and if you were actually prepared for class when you did show up.

  • Charlotte

    Ned I did a little research, a technique of finding out facts and examples to support claims, and I found out that you are actually quite the sports enthusiasts and spent a lot of money on a sling box so that you could follow the Jacksonville Jaguars. So why did you feel the need to bash Yale athletes when you obviously were an athlete in high school, as you stated in your article, and continue to be an avid sports fan in college?

    Also what is the deal with your entire first paragraph? I would hope a Yalie would have a little more self-respect and respect for the school by calling Stanford the Yale of the West as opposed to the Harvard of the West.

    Also if you want so badly to heal this "rift" you are MORE than welcome to join my team in a morning lift and run or a morning practice in the cold. Spring training sure is fun!

  • Alum

    I agree with previous posters that Ned's op-ed is contradictory and extremely tactless. That said, there is an imbalance in the way that non-athletes and athletes are treated. As an example, just look at the Dean's excuse policy. Why should an athlete be able to get a Dean's excuse for a game/match conflict but a YSO member (or Dramat member, etc) not be able to get one for a performance? There are many Yalies who participate in extracurriculars that are just as valuable (personally and community-wise) and require just as much of a time investment as athletics. The generalizations about athletes presented in the op-ed are unfair, but I think that a lot of the resentment/annoyance with athletes stems from the fact that the Yale seems to unreasonably value their extracurricular activity more than others. I doubt (and hopefully I'm right) that most non-athlete Yalies think their athlete peers are dumb or don't deserve to be at Yale.

  • Anonymous

    As a non-athlete with several athlete friends and a newspaper writer, I can say Ned you are entitled to your opinions, though I don't think you know shit.

    First, learn to get your facts right…umm, let's see: Yale doesn't recruit? hello, why don't you talk to ANY Yale coach who can tell you about the countless hours, days, weeks they spend on the road each year recruiting athletes to come play here. Yale spend sa ton of MONEY [yes, Ned money spent on sports and lots of it] and time to deliver some of the country's best athletes.
    And why don't you open your freakin eyes…let's see, Yale has two starters in the NHL right now, has recent grads in the NFL, MLB, MLS, and MLL [lax], pro basketball players in Europe, several athletes who turned down full rides at 'major sports' schools, had the leading hitter in NCAA baseball last season, the leading scorer in NCAA women's lacrosse last season, one of the top rushers in football in the NCAA last season, the list goes on…
    How many athletes do you actually KNOW? Clearly not many, cuz I'm betting the reason you think there's such a 'divide' is because no one wants to talk to an elitist like yourself who represents everything wrong about Yale…maybe you're just too good for Yale.
    The Ivy League has RULES in place that every school abides by to make sure all athletes at Yale meet predetermined academic standards, so these illiterate athletes you describe simply just do not exist at Yale and in fact are probably the hardest working students here.

    I could go on forever, but from all these comments I hope you have at least reconsidered you're clearly misinformed position. Why don't you try actually talking to an athlete before you insult the hundreds of them at Yale? Why don't you go to a game before impugning all of the sports at Yale. It's amazing any athletes are here at all, anyway, since according to you they aren't recruited and can't even spell their name right on the SATs. Maybe even more athletes would pass up scholarships if they didn't have to worry about people like you who automatically relegate them to some lower strata…what do YOU bring to the Yale community that makes you worthy of being here??

  • Anonymous

    Really? Interesting. I don't think I've ever heard of a teammate getting a Dean's excuse due to a game conflict. In fact the only way in my college to get one is if your are deathly sick.

  • facts.

    Last time I checked…

    Men’s Lightweight Crew has won THREE National Championships since 2000
    Women’s Crew just won the NCAA Championship in 2007 (capping off a perfect season)
    Women’s Sailing won the National Championship in 2004
    Women’s Squash won three straight National Championships in 2004, 2005, and 2006
    Swimmer Alex Righi was 2nd at this year’s NCAA Championships

    … wow, Yale athletes really do have no “real talent.”

  • female athlete

    "The art of screwing around is remunerated elsewhere at Yale, sometimes even with the joy of a little brief authority. Enter the IM referee, a person with one of the sweetest jobs at school.

    “I actually do about 7-20 minutes of real work a night,” Ned Fulmer ’09 said. “Squash is technically a self-reffed game.”

    He clarifies, however, saying that sometimes he penalizes late arrivals. IM Refs might seem amiable enough, but do not test them.

    “I get to lay the smackdown sometimes,” Fulmer said."

    -Yep this is straight from the Yale Daily News. Wow Ned you sure do contribute so much more to Yale than I do. I wish I could perfect the art of slacking off like you have. The more research I do about you the more sport connections I find. It really is becoming clearer and clearer that this article just might be out of your pure resentment towards and jealousy of Yale athletes. Personally my favorite find about you is your facebook picture of you in a muscle suit. Are you sure your not obsessed with athletes?

  • WSW

    The strategy you offer to recruit "the best" in your article would do far greater damage to Yale than anything you accuse the extraordinary athletes who currently attend this university of doing.

    The athletes who choose to come here are giving up scholarships at other schools. They are remarkable if only because they choose to accept the burden of Yale's tuition in order to gain the benefit of its educational offerings.

    Imagine the thoughtful people who are coming here, who already have true and great character, and who will make Yale proud. Aren't the individuals who choose education over money the kind of students we all want in our university’s community?

    Scholarships are also a very ugly business. They fetter students to their sport, even if they have other interests they wish to pursue, like writing for their college paper.

    Our system does not trap athletes into their sports. It allows everyone to compete for the love their sport and the devotion they have for their university and teammates.

    Granted, this is your opinion, and your article is suitably identified as such. But your opinion, Ned, is embarrassment to every Yalie. It is nothing but a collection of your own personal prejudices you have chosen to spew onto this community.

    If you can tell every single athlete on this campus that they are somehow sub par, that they are not as deserving to be a part of this community as you, then please write your opinion piece again. But this time, please be sure to include the reasons why Alex Righi, who was the fastest American at the NCAA Swimming Championships, does not belong here. Also, I would be interested to know why all of the members of the Women’s Crew Varsity Eight boat, last year’s National Champions, also do not belong.

    But most of all, I would like to know why every single athlete who is pre-med, who is in EP&E, who volunteers, and who involves themselves in political organizations of every kind, has no value in this community.

    You would never write such a piece, Ned. Never.

    As a member of the twenty percent of the Yale population that you found too ignorant, too arrogant, or too incapable to be valuable, I am not offended by your opinion. I am disappointed—but not in you. You have made it to Yale University, one of the finest, if not the finest, academic institution in the world. You may have some resentment toward the Yale’s admissions office for letting in people you claim are insufficiently talented or insufficiently intelligent because a coach requests it. But your disappointment is nothing compared to my frustration with the admissions office for allowing someone as uninformed and prejudiced as yourself into this school.

    How does it feel to have the tables turned, Ned?

  • WSW

    The strategy you offer to recruit "the best" in your article would do far greater damage to Yale than anything you accuse the extraordinary athletes who currently attend this university of doing.

    The athletes who choose to come here are giving up scholarships at other schools. They are remarkable if only because they choose to accept the burden of Yale's tuition in order to gain the benefit of its educational offerings.

    Imagine the thoughtful people who are coming here, who already have true and great character, and who will make Yale proud. Aren't the individuals who choose education over money the kind of students we all want in our university’s community?

    Scholarships are also a very ugly business. They fetter students to their sport, even if they have other interests they wish to pursue, like writing for their college paper.

    Our system does not trap athletes into their sports. It allows everyone to compete for the love their sport and the devotion they have for their university and teammates.

    Granted, this is your opinion, and your article is suitably identified as such. But your opinion, Ned, is embarrassment to every Yalie. It is nothing but a collection of your own personal prejudices you have chosen to spew onto this community.

    If you can tell every single athlete on this campus that they are somehow sub par, that they are not as deserving to be a part of this community as you, then please write your opinion piece again. But this time, please be sure to include the reasons why Alex Righi, who was the fastest American at the NCAA Swimming Championships, does not belong here. Also, I would be interested to know why all of the members of the Women’s Crew Varsity Eight boat, last year’s National Champions, also do not belong.

    But most of all, I would like to know why every single athlete who is pre-med, who is in EP&E, who volunteers, and who involves themselves in political organizations of every kind, has no value in this community.

    You would never write such a piece, Ned. Never.

    As a member of the twenty percent of the Yale population that you found too ignorant, too arrogant, or too incapable to be valuable, I am not offended by your opinion. I am disappointed—but not in you. You have made it to Yale University, one of the finest, if not the finest, academic institution in the world. You may have some resentment toward the Yale’s admissions office for letting in people you claim are insufficiently talented or insufficiently intelligent because a coach requests it. But your disappointment is nothing compared to my frustration with the admissions office for allowing someone as uninformed and prejudiced as yourself into this school.

    How does it feel to have the tables turned, Ned?

  • Anonymous

    You're right Ned. We should stop giving preferential treatment to mediocre athletes who are just bringing down the academic prowess at Yale. While you're at it, let's not let in minorities anymore either. Have you ever noticed that all the Black students sit together at one table in Commons? They are separating themselves from the rest of the student population. They clearly do not want to interact with inferior races. They separate themselves just as much, if not more, than the athletes. Also, let's be serious, we all know they only got in because they are Black. Black people can't be smart. It's not in their nature. Affirmative Action is the worst thing that happened to Yale, and the US. Let's go back to the old days at Yale when it was all superior, intelligent whites. Good call Ned. Good call.

  • Ned is the worst

    Ned, I am ashamed to to say I go to the same school as you. Way to widen the gap between athletes and non-athletes and offend hundreds of people. I also lost a ton of respect for the YDN after they allowed this garbage to be printed when it was supported by no facts and makes negative generalizations about a large group of students.

  • JJ

    It is utterly obvious that Ned was an awful athlete in high school. He is understandably disappointed in his own life as an individual, and wants to bring the "dumb jocks" down with him. The after reading this article, I have come to the following two conclusions:
    1) Ned is jealous of Yale students that are actually involved in something worth-while.
    2) He just made an absolute fool of himself!

  • oin

    #46 is a worthless comment. dean's, in my experience, do not give excuses for sports-related conflicts - get your facts straight.

  • Johnny Danger

    Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to say what I would like to here because apparently the YDN is more attentive to screening the comments people make online than the trash they decide to print in their paper. But hopefully I'm allowed to say that I disagree with Ned and that I have more respect for the second worst and second least intelligent athlete at Yale than I do for him.

  • female athlete

    ned, i hope you realize the generalizations and accusations you make about athletes being of "substandard academic caliber" are the same made by men about women before the feminist movement. if you do not get taken before the executive committee for you defamatory comments, i will loose all faith in yale's administration.

  • Anonymous

    If Yale wanted to fill their student body with kids who got perfect 1600 SATs, they probably could. Why don't they?

    Think on it, friend. Perhaps grades are not the only measure of success in life. You may realize that upon graduating.

  • Anonymous

    Here are a few things you should have considered before you wrote your article.
    1. At nearly every major conference school, athletes have their own dorms, completely separate from the non-athletes students on campus. At Yale housing is completely random. As you mentioned in your article, athletes get out a lot, so then it would seem that the housing here benefits those who may not get out as much (non-athletes).
    2. If you think there is such a big gap, maybe a little more support should be shown for the sports teams on campus. We all get it, Yale is hard, but if athletes can put aside 25 hours a week and still get their work done, then non-athletes can set aside 2 hours on a WEEKEND to come to a game. Games are a great way to socialize, and I know athletes love having support. You complain you never see your athlete roommates, well go to a field or gym and see them.
    3. There are 341 teams playing Division 1 college basketball, 65 make the tournament. I'd say probably half of the teams are from 1-bid conferences, like the Ivy League. A lot of good teams get left home, and it doesn't mean they are any less talented than the teams that do get in. Yale beat American last year, American goes to the tournament and almost upsets 2-ranked Tennessee. Think about it.
    4. Yale athletes are laughable, or so the article says. You don't play a sport here because you aren't good enough presumably. Transitive property- what's below laughable?

  • Anonymous

    "I dare you to call one of the members of the 2007 Women's NCAA Champion Varsity Eight Boat a mediocre athlete. Or tell them that they aren't smart enough to be here."

    We have a women's crew team?

  • Anonymous

    Ned, I for one think you're right on. Brave article to publish.

  • 66

    Ned, I could not be more offended by your comments, or embarrassed to attend the same University as you. I am embarrassed because Yale, is intended to be an environment that is open and accepting of all groups of people. Yet here you are, criticizing and generalizing an entire group of students, because of only one thing they all have in common: playing sports. I also am surprised that the YDN decided to post this editorial, which to me comes across as hateful and intolerant.

    Your comment:

    "But, one cannot forget that we also admit recruited athletes who are, for the most part, of a substandard academic caliber and more likely to be apathetic toward collegiate academia."

    Is one of the most ignorant and absurd generalizations I have ever seen a legitimate newspaper allow to be printed. It is the same as if someone submitted an editorial generalizing all African Americans as being less capable than whites, or women as being less intelligent than men. (Which surely if ever were to be posted that student would almost definitely face disciplinary action from the school). Your remarks reflect ignorant stereotypes and they are everything the Yale community should be against.

    Furthermore, why is it that you perceive athletes to be of a "substandard academic caliber" than other students? If you have never competed in a varsity sport, then you cannot even begin to say you know what it feels like to wake up at 5 in the morning like most rowers do 5 days a week for a practice, while getting back at 8 with little time to write 2 papers that are due that day.
    Student athletes at Yale continually challenge themselves in the classroom and with extracurriculars and they do so with completing the rigorous schedule that playing a Division 1 sport demands. An achievement that all athletes would praise.

    Ned, your arguments are offensive and misinformed, I hope in the future you take the time to consider all aspects of your comments, and think about the 100's of people you are hurting with such crude and untrue stereotypes. Next time you should be more careful.

  • Anonymous

    I think someone's still upset about getting picked last for kickball in elementary school.

  • Respondent to Alum

    Athletes get dean’s excuses for missed in-class work because they had to leave on a Thursday or a Friday for a game. It's up to the professor whether she'll excuse the absence, so really the dean's excuse means nothing. I'm pretty sure if the Glee Club left on Friday morning for a concert in New York students would be able to get dean's excuses (however, most extracurriculars avoid traveling on school days). If an athlete gets a deans excuse because he was tired after his Saturday game and couldn't study for his test on Monday, that's a matter of a dean being too lenient. About Yale (or Athletes? your post is unclear) over-valuing its athletes, I think most Yalies value the contributions and the sacrifices involved with other extracurriculars too. I don't think any right-minded Yalie would doubt the commitment made by, say, an editor for the venerable YDN.

  • KT

    Ned mentions that he played lacrosse in high school. This surely went on his resume that was submitted with his Yale application and helped the admissions office decide he was well-rounded. Without sports, Ned might not have gotten into Yale.

  • DI vs. DIII

    Since many of these comments have already brought up some excellent points, I just want to bring up an assumption Ned is making by asking, "Should we imitate smaller liberal arts schools, reducing our athletics programs and downgrading to Division III?"

    What Ned is suggesting here is that, if Yale admissions were to restrict admission to "sub-par" student-athletes, the remaining athletes would not be competitive enough to compete in D-1 sports anymore. Try telling that to someone like cross-country captain and six-time All-American Lindsay Donaldson '08. Oh, but those six times are in addition to being name an Academic All-American…yes, she's smart, and she still managed to place third at the national cross-country championships last year. You might even be interested to find out that she beat ALL of Stanford's team, which consistently brings in some of the top recruits in the nation.

    Please, avoid making comments that suggest that intelligence and athletic talent are mutually exclusive. And remember, intelligence is not to be measured purely by grades or SAT scores either. This applies not only to Ned, but to Yale's entire student body.

  • Alum

    To #56:
    The Yale College Programs of Study specifies that deans may only excuse students for missed work or from exams due to "an incapacitating illness, the death of a family member, or a comparable emergency." In addition, varsity athletes are allowed excuses when they participate in "varsity events sponsored by the Department of Athletics."

    All I was trying to point out is that there might be legitimate reasons why people are frustrated with treatment of athletes - yes, it's true the divide exists at many schools, but other schools (i.e. Stanford, Duke, etc) bring in a lot more revenue from sporting events than Yale does, so maybe special treatment feels like a more fair exchange at those places (and I'm not condoning this). Also, some people have posted that non-athletes should go to games to lessen the divide. I absolutely agree, but a lot of us in fact do. Speaking for myself and many of my friends, we often went to football (aside from the Game), basketball, tennis squash and volleyball games to support friends and/or to just support Yale. Many non-athletes enjoy sports, enjoy going to Yale games, and I would imagine that most of us have good friends who are athletes - please don't generalize about us either.

  • Anonymous

    1) Did he even talk to university officials? Because Yale recruits athletes but cannot offer scholarships. That's a known policy -- Levin said that there would not be a rise in recruited athletes with the rise in general student population. Check the athletic website. There’s a whole section entitled “recruiting”.
    2) Yale always has multiple academic All-American athletes and teams. That’s people who earn 3.5s on top of the hours of week spent training and conditioning.
    3) Yale has some of the best athletes in the world in sports like Swimming (Alex Righi is one of the fastest American swimmers ever), Crew (Tess Gerrard is a world champion rower and the women won NCAAs last year), Squash (the men finished 3rd in the country) and even Sailing (Thomas Barrows has won multiple single-handed national championships).
    4) The “social rift” must be attributed too the non-athletes as much as it is to the athletes. For some scholarly work on the subjects of self-segregation I highly suggest “Self-Segregation versus Clustering in the Evolutionary Minority Game” by Hod and Nakar.

    Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is just plain ignorance.

  • Stereotypes

    I find it ironic that two op-ed pieces discussing stereotypes appeared side-by-side in the YDN today.

    Ned Fulmer's article, which presents some disturbing stereotypes of athletes, is situated right next to a much more tactful article by the YDN's Rachel Bayefsky, which challenges us to "talk about the roots of ambition at Yale — instead of resorting to stereotypes about some of its side effects."

    Well done Rachel; I just wish Ned had read your article before he employed some very offensive stereotypes of athletes.

    As a pre-med athlete, I guess I don't fit Ned's athlete stereotype at all. But then again, the majority of athletes at Yale don't fit that stereotype either.

  • Anonymous

    Ned, if you're going to criticize our student athletes, at least have some facts to support it. Sure, we weren't in the Rose Bowl, or March Madness, but there's still some amazing athletic talent on campus!

    And give the athletes some credit-- my friend is pre med, a former DS-er, a varsity athlete, and STILL has a 3.8 GPA. She works harder than anyone I know… harder than you, Ned.

  • Anonymous

    I really don't think there's a social divide between athletes and non-athletes. They may tend to eat together and hang out together because of common bonds, but its just as easy to make friends with quality human beings on football, soccer, baseball etc as "nonathletes." And just as many people not worth the time on sports teams as in any other activity.

    Maybe athletes don't isolate themselves from non-athletes, maybe certain groups are cliquey and don't try to make friends with athletes.

    And yeah, this coming from someone who isn't an athlete… but couldn't imagine Yale without what they bring to the table both on and off the field/ice/court etc.

  • AngryMan

    This is inflammatory trash. Anyone who manages to balance athletics and studies at Yale has a schedule that is not only mentally but physically taxing. People who are not on varsity teams here can never understand the level of commitment and sacrifice this requires and should probably keep their mouths shut. How often do you have two-a-days to fit into your tight schedule Ned? How many people depend on you? And if you care so much about being at Stanford why don't you just go there?

  • Dewey

    It seems never to have occurred to the judgemental Mr. Fulmer that intellect is extremely muliti-faceted. For instance, one's suitemate may be miserable at foreign languages yet have exceptional interpersonal skills and empathy. Those talents cannot be quantified in the way that answering a series of math questions correctly can. While athleticism can be quantified, as Ned points out, with scores, what he misses is the substance of the matter--while our teams might not seem stellar (though I'm sitting next to an irate member of the extraordinary women's crew team as I write this comment), the diversity of talent and engagement with the world from multiple perspectives is what strengthens Yale. We can't all be whiny, benchwarming nerds. The perceived athlete-nonathlete gap is false. In addition, those student-athletes who trained so hard to get here not only worked their asses off on the field to hone their specialized skills, but in the classroom--what would be considered double duty for a lot of the rest of us. In addition, many athletes turned down scholarships to other schools to play for Yale, knowing the financial burden that they would have to bear for much of their lives afterwards.
    I am incensed that Ned has chosen to write such a negative, accusatory article as well. The topic is inconsequential and no one needs to be surrounded by the background noise of complaint.
    I'm off to drink and watch "good" college sports on TV, since if I'm not going to get any As off the field, why try? Sick philosophy Ned--gives me a whole new, positive outlook on life. NOT.

  • Anonymous

    Ned, as a walk-on varsity athlete from both a school and region which send few students to the Ivy league, I would like to make a few comments about your article.

    1. It is puzzling to me that no one responding to your article has mentioned the enormous time and effort it takes to reach the caliber of Yale varsity recruits, not just to be an athlete at school here. Students at my high school who were recruited devoted enormous amounts of time to their sports, playing not only for the school but for numerous other leagues. While individuals like yourself (and, I admit, myself) were boosting their college resumes, would-be recruits were out trying to get noticed. Perhaps if I had spent less time on work and more time lifting or going to showcases, I would have received the D-1 offer I longed for. But then again, had I received such an offer, I may have been rejected even by the purportedly low standards you describe.

    2. Very few people are admitted to this school on academic standards alone. With recruited athletes come legacies, minorities, admits from well-known private schools, and admits with an exceptional, non-academic talent. These factors are collectively referred to as "hooks" and the University has no qualms admitting they exist. It takes a real academic dynamo to be admitted solely on merit, and many of those are rejected even despite their qualifications.

    3. The one reasonable argument you make is in your description of a divide between athletes and "normies." If such a divide exists, it is the fault of people like you, who rudely and shamelessly dicriminate against one of the largest groups at our institution (the only group, I might add, whom you could attack without serious repercussions).

    Fourth and last, you seem to grant Yale an identity based on relative trivialities-- grades, social interactions, etc. Yale is much more than that. If you looked beyond your misrepresented pictures of Toads or Commons, you would see that sports are one of the biggest cohesive forces behind our school's identity. All you are doing is hurting that identity and the values Yale stands for.

    Your article is, quite literally, discriminatory. It is because of the misconceptions you support that many of my friends and I are hesitant to wear varsity attire to class. We know our input will be disregarded or overlooked by people like yourself.

    You are a disgrace to Yale and you are only perpetuating a very real problem. I hold out little hope that you will be formally punished. I do, however, find some justice in knowing that you've dug your own proverbial grave when it comes to bridging gaps and making friends. Although I am disgusted that the Daily News would print your discriminatory article, the predominant reaction to your filth-- disgust-- has actually given me faith in our community.

    You don't deserve to attend our proud school.

  • Get a clue Ned

    Ned, I hope you enjoy the firestorm you have just released upon yourself. Your insensitive and prejudiced comments with no evidence in support have done nothing but enrage the student athlete population and widen the existing gap you mention between athletes and non-athletes. I know for a fact that the purple crayon, IM refereeing or whatever you do is not even close to the time commitment that Yale student athletes have to invest in their sports. Your generalizations about the intelligence of athletes is just as absurd. Take the time, because I know you have a lot of it, to go meet a few athletes before you formulate your opinions. And saying that Yale athletes have "No talent"? Are you kidding me? I'm glad others have taken the time to disprove that already. But seriously, get a clue Ned.

  • Anonymous

    Comment #59 speaks the truth

  • jockz rool

    prejudice [ˈpred

  • 2010

    the last time I played any organized sport was in the seventh grade, but I think Mr. Fulmer's comments are execrable.

    For instance, I don't think the Purple Crayon is particularly funny, but I would hesitate to say that there aren't comedians at Yale "with real talent".

    Just as some students write snobbishly misguided commentary in the YDN and others think before they vomit onto the page, some athletes (and teams) are better than others. None of them lack talent.

    Shame on you, Mr. Fulmer.

  • Anonymous

    To #62: you might agree with his sentiment, but how is it brave to publish an article without any factual evidence to back it up. He essentially calls all Yale athletes mediocre both academically and athletically, while ignoring the many successful and intelligent student athletes in our midst. Generalizations are not brave. They are foolish.

  • Anonymous

    Get a clue.

  • R. James

    Some of the people posting here have said that we should not take this article as a personal attack on student-athletes, but that's exactly what this is. As the author writes here, there is a divide between athletes and non-athletes (which, on another note, is something I don't believe to be caused so much by a GPA difference, as Ned would suggest, but by a common understanding of the amount of time and effort that is required to survive at Yale with both work and practice). For an article written in support of minimizing that divide, I find it ironic that one of the main points would be emphasizing how athletes are below both academic and athletic standards.

    I doubt any of you reading this will disagree with me here: Yale is an incredibly difficult school to attend academically. If this does not apply to you, congratulations!, because I truly believe that you are one of few that don't work tirelessly to succeed here. This applies to athletes and non-athletes alike. Now, we all do things outside of our classes (I mean, we are at Yale…), whether it be sports, other extracurriculars, or simply hanging out with friends. These things are not only time consuming but physically exhausting as well, and we all know that time and energy are two things we don't really have to spare. Athletics is one area in particular that emphasizes the physical aspect of this- speaking as an athlete, this can affect anything from whether you have time to skim or fully read articles for section to your mood and actual physical health. In no way am I saying that this is a "better" way to spend your time and that it deserves special treatment, but I will say this: it is the choice of the athletes to spend their time this way. Our athletes deserve to at least be respected for that. And at the end of a rough week of practice and school, if the athletes decide another athlete would best understand their situation- their frustration that they could have done better on a test if they had had more time, their sheer exhaustion from being finished with practice before most people on campus even wake up, the idea of missing another prized weekend on campus to travel- then why is that so wrong? We all look for the person who would understand the issue best to talk to, and that is no different from athletes.

    Athletes, as an over-generalized group, are no less than any other student on campus, and discriminatory articles stating such are certainly no way to break down the divides between these students and non-athletes. Even if you don't choose to support athletes, respect is all that we desire, and really- it is something that I for one hoped we deserve.

  • Ned Lover 2000

    nice job Ned, don't let these people get you down.

  • Anonymous

    Look Ned,

    You can keep citing football and basketball all you want. Those aren't the only sports that exist in the NCAA, and just because they're the high-profile ones, it doesn't mean a thing about how good the sports program as a whole at Yale is. Look at Duke. Their football program is totally abysmal, and yet they're still touted as one of the best schools for athletics in the nation. Georgetown? We beat them in football this year without lifting a finger. Squash, crew, track and field… all of those sports and more are sending individuals and teams to national championships, which means they're just as good as the Stanfords or Dukes of the NCAA. If all of the money was funneled into football or basketball, athletes such as myself wouldn't even have a chance to compete at the collegiate level while getting a top-notch education.

    You mention the cultural rift between athletes and non-athletes. You see the same sort of clustering among other interest groups as well -- cultural groups, music groups (a capella, anyone?), the list goes on. It's perfectly natural for this "rift" to occur, because similarity breeds friendship. Athletes have so much in common with one another that you'd almost be surprised if they weren't forming a close bond. The same goes with cultural groups, religious groups, etc. -- common bonds breed friendship, and groups of similar interests stick together. Just because these other groups don't wear something that makes them stand out (consider the team warm-up gear, the ice packs on shoulders, etc.) doesn't mean that there isn't a group that shares a common bond like athletes do in Commons.

    I've seen plenty of other people at Yale who are of "sub-standard" academic caliber (read: less than 1600 SAT), and yet they have so much else to contribute to the college. The outstanding musicians, actors/actresses, journalists, etc. that you hear about all around campus may not be up there on the academic ladder, but their contribution to the college is measured by more than just a perfect GPA or a Rhodes scholarship.

    I highly doubt that everyone who couldn't get work done has an athletic excuse. Ask the person who stays up late at the YDN office why he didn't get his work done. Ask the person who stays up late choreographing the next big dance show over at OBT. Are these bad excuses as well?

    If you want Yale to be an athletic powerhouse, then why don't you start suggesting that we cut some other programs that make Yale a community of diverse interests. It may satisfy the few power-hungry people like yourself, but consider all of the other talented individuals who don't need to go to Payne Whitney every day to exercise their talents and interests and make Yale the place it is now.

  • judy bridgeport

    i can think of at least two seminars and a section that have been ruined by less-than-smart athletes. it's hard to truly engage anything intellectually, and in a group setting, when some - sometimes most - of the group just isn't on the same page academically.
    while there's definitely something to be said for encouraging diversity, I don't think we should do so at the expense of our intellectual mission - yale is a school, after all. i think athletes should be held to the same rigorous academic standards as everyone else.

  • levelheaded

    I'm not out to defend Ned, and I think he has many faults in his article. But for the sake of limiting the damage he has retardedly caused himself, let me try to sum up his main points.

    One of the previous comments was spot on in saying that the status quo is recruiting good students who are good athletes. Ned recommends either not recruiting at all (necessarily yielding excellent students by his flawed logic) or recruiting heavily with scholarships and lower academic standards (necessarily yielding excellent athletes by the same logic).

    So now that we have that out of the way, time for the hate:
    Ned generalizes that athletes are academically sub-par. Obviously incorrect and I don't think he actually believes that. He's not exactly an ace himself.

    He also generalizes that we are unsuccessful. Again, incorrect because of the long list of our nationally recognized sports teams (previously mentioned crew, swimming, squash, sailing, etc etc etc)

    I think his real condemnation is of one team, unfortunately, and that's the basketball team. It is the only team capable of national recognition but is continually disappointing and hindered by high academic standards (the Yale coach himself was quoted as desiring lower standards in order to recruit higher-caliber athletes, a la Harvard this year which had a top recruiting class--3 of the top 20 high school recruits int he nation).

    Ultimately this kid is an idiot for committing social suicide through publishing the article. I urge you to consider a few things:

    1) The Op-Ed was written for Daily Themes and takes a very devil's-advocate tone. I find it hard to believe that anyone could actually harbor the opinions Ned portrays in his article.
    2) This article has encouraged good discussion but it has also incurred the wrath of many who, instead of condemning the article with argument, have turned to petty personal attacks. Comments like, "Ned, bet you suck at sports so hard you're just jealous" are not going to help anything.
    3) This is nothing like condemning a race. Don't be stupid, race is an innate characteristic and choosing to better your chances at college admissions through hard work in athletics is a personal choice, and a valid one.
    4) This kid's life is over. Not that I feel that bad, because he should have realized the backlash, but I think we should let him be for now. If he hasn't, he will soon realize that he made a grievous error publishing an article with poor arguments which he can't possibly believe.

  • Anonymous

    this dude's name is ned…

  • Anonymous

    you just proved how dumb you really are by writing this article. which is not only ignorant and unfounded, but also terribly written. go find yourself a writing tutor. you're an embarrassment to Yale

  • Anonymous

    Um. He did no research and made false claims without facts to back them up. How is that doing a "nice job." I mean if this had been a paper for a class do you think the TA would have been "oh good job Neddy…don't worry it's ok you did no research." I think not.

  • The middle ground

    What I find disappointing and ironic about many of these comments is that while the majority of responses refute the generalization that Ned so mistakenly made about athletes being of substandard intellect, several are infused with the same kind of jock rhetoric that caused these stereotypes to be mistakenly made in the first place. So many of these comments are well written, citing factual evidence and avoiding the same kind of inflammatory language that causes authors such as Ned to lose credibility. My hat is off to you all. And yet, many thought it necessary to post comments such as "are you still harboring a grudge for getting beaten up in gym class when you were six?" and "I think someone's still upset about getting picked last for kickball in elementary school." This screams insecure jock to me and the whole point of this backlash is that you don't deserve that kind of labeling. Everyone, including non-athletes, has every right to be upset and respond strongly to the stereotyping of this op-ed. But for your own sake, as mad as you may be, don't degrade yourselves to the level of the article by slinging out the same kind of baseless claims that got us here in the first place.

  • y09

    Okay, guys, we get it. Ned was way off-base in describing Yale athletics as "mediocre." Many of our teams are extremely accomplished and we should be proud of them. Very few people here would disagree with that, and Ned was heavy-handed in his generalization. He perhaps just meant our more visible football and basketball teams, and definitely ignored our more successful women’s crew team (which I can’t say I think too many students care about). In any case, he was completely wrong about the overall success of our athletic programs. The 80+ comments to that effect have proven this point… and successfully ignored the rest of his article, which makes an important point and is not trivial.

    The point is, there is a palpable divide between varsity athletes and everyone else at Yale. It's pervasive and it frustrates a great many people. Athletes (I'm speaking in general, and can think of several exceptions, but this is the general trend that most people would agree with) do not engage in Yale College life at all to the extent that non-athletes do. They do not spend as much time in their residential college, pursuing extracurriculars, volunteering, or even engaging in class at times. (Can you honestly claim to have never experienced a large lecture interrupted by an obnoxious varsity athlete or a section with a clueless, unprepared athlete?) This is in large part because of the schedule they must maintain, but also inarguably because they choose to spend more time among their teammates and at the team lodge. The question is whether this is necessarily a bad thing, and whether they are truly contributing enough to Yale and campus life to justify their being here and dedicating so much time and energy to their sport.

    Many people have pointed to the fact that they sometimes spend all day from 5am to 8pm out of the room for practice and class, as if it were a neutral or even positive fact. Why is this a good thing? Why should we have students at Yale whose seemingly only purpose is to work all day to excel at a sport which relatively few other students on campus even care about? Drive, dedication, and time management are all good things, but I don’t think the admissions committee seeks to admit people because they want to ensure they develop positive life skills. Instead, the goal is to build a diverse and interesting student body which will thrive together.

    I frankly don't think anyone would disagree with the idea that there are at least a few varsity athletes that flat out shouldn't be here. They may be good at their sport, but they otherwise contribute pretty negatively (or at least not positively) to campus life, whether by showing up unprepared to section or by being obnoxious in general. Again, I’m not making generalizations here, this is just a “there exists at least one” claim. Now, if these people are here, supporting their not necessarily successful team and otherwise not contributing to campus life, the question is: why do they belong here, and not one of the thousands of brilliant, well-rounded, wholly qualified applicants turned away every year?

  • Anonymous

    To those non-athletes who feel there is a rift at this school:
    I’m sorry you feel that way. If you do a serious extracurricular, it’s a simple fact that you will lose some hang-out time with your friends who aren’t in it. If campus newspaper staffs were as large as the athlete population, there would probably be a rift between these people and the non-writers. That said, athletes are not one big social group. “Athletes” hang out with their individual TEAMS. Teams do spend a lot of time together, and that includes eating together in the dining hall. The rift only exists because non-athletes like Ned lump all athletes into one huge category. We are not all the same, and do not all hang out TOGETHER.
    In any case, I ate dinner tonight in a college dining hall with a group that was about 1/3 to 2/3 “athletes” to “non-athletes.” My experience at this school has been one of complete balance between my team and my other friends.

  • anonymous

    In terms of technical info, which you obviously didn’t look into, Yale athletes spend more time practicing than Division III because of Div. III rules, but also less than other Division I athletes because of Ivy league limitations. So yes, it is harder to compete against Div. I schools who give athletic scholarships. However, Yale competes in the Ivy League against similar academically challenging institutions without athletic scholarships. On an even plane with these teams, who are the prime competition for Yale, what does it matter whether we are Division I or Division III? I suppose, if all you care about is for Yale’s teams to make and succeed in the NCAA tournament, then Division III might be a better fit. I don’t think that is the point of Yale athletics.
    You want jocks who don’t do work and “disrupt” classes by not doing the reading? Sure, let’s follow Stanford and make teams practice more and lower the school’s academic standards for athletes. You could enjoy watching Yale on television in the tournament, since you would probably prefer this to attending an actual game. In fact, why did you choose to come to Yale anyway?
    Lastly, although this may seem braggart, because this is anonymous I would like to say that I got a 1590 on my SATs, and chose to come to Yale for the education, not its athletic prowess, as most athletes here would probably tell you, (although I am proud to be on a top team in the nation). I also think you should get some facts on athlete records before you categorize them as substandard applicants. Anyways, once here, I have dedicated uncountable hours to my team. Sure, sometimes I believe I could have contributed a more intellectual comment in section or done a bit better on an exam if I hadn’t been traveling the entire previous day to an away match, playing, then returning. At the same time, however, I am learning at least as much on my team and from my teammates as I am from anyone in my classes.

    P.S. If you take a “gut” course, don’t expect stimulating conversation (that’s why it’s a gut).
    And one request: ever heard of home court advantage? The reason it’s an advantage is because of the fan support (based on actual research and analysis). Ned, if you want Yale to have better records, start rallying some more fans to come to the games.

  • Anonymous

    first of all, #86 your comment that the basketball team is the" only team capable of national recognition but is continually disappointing and hindered by high academic standards" is extremely offensive (and no i'm not on the team) how would you like to be called a disappointment after working your ass off? you are in no place to judge.

    On the subject of recruiting, I don't think many people realize how much the Yale admissions board screws over Coaches and teams here at Yale. As an athlete myself, I know for a fact that ridiculously smart, talented, great recruits were FLAT OUR REJECTED by admissions, not to mention not giving us enough recruits to replace the graduating classes in general. My team has suffered the the extreme this year to the extent that we didn't even have enough players to PLAY at one point because our team was so small and plagued with injuries. How do people expect us to perform at our best and "Go Big" if we don't even have people?

  • Anonymous

    judy. "I think athletes should be held to the same rigorous academic standards as everyone else"
    What does that mean exactly? I wasn't aware that athletes had separate TAs and professors grading their exams, essays, class participation, and such. Oh wait…they don't.

  • Brennan Turner

    Hey Ned,

    My name's Brennan Turner and you might know me. I'm the guy that was often in your room freshman year when you lived with my teammate, a hockey player, and another friend, a tennis player.

    I'm also the guy that left Yale early to pursue a professional sports career. Despite leaving school before senior year, I still plan on getting my Yale degree in Economics. This said, knowing I may be leaving after our season was over, I took it upon myself to take 7 classes this semester. This included seminars, gut-classes, classes outside my own boundaries (such as music), and the senior essay. Although I am no longer on campus, I am still completing all papers, presentations, etc. so that I can get my Yale degree. I worked hard to get into Yale, worked hard while I was at Yale, and seemingly am continuing to work hard outside of Yale.

    Hi Ned, my name is Brennan Turner and I'm also an athlete who also is commited to various extracurriculars other than varisty hockey. This included taking time out of my schedule to come help you film some sort of pilot film/series. I don't know if you remembered that I, the athlete, came and hung out and participated with you and other non-athletes when I could have been working on my senior essay.

    There's also IMs, Relay for Life, on-campus jobs, student government, among others that myself and many, many other Yale athletes were active participants in over their Yale years.

    Ned, I'm sorry that I wasn't able to have lunch at a dining hall outside of Commons with every single non-athlete. I have a lot more non-athlete friends though than I do athlete friends. I'm not sorry that I went to Toad's with other athletes and many non-athletes when other Yalies (athletes and non-athletes) stayed home.

    It's quite clear that not every single person on a college campus will not be friends with each other. There are the countless groups of friends who consist of pre-med, economics, music, architecture, etc. majors yet are both non-athletes and athletes.

    I wish Ned that you would have considered many of the going-ons between athletes and non-athletes that occur behind the scene before laying your fingers on the keyboard.

  • Alum

    "Sure, sometimes I believe I could have contributed a more intellectual comment in section or done a bit better on an exam if I hadn’t been traveling the entire previous day to an away match, playing, then returning. At the same time, however, I am learning at least as much on my team and from my teammates as I am from anyone in my classes."

    And this is the goal of Yale University? This sort of lesson is equally as important as learning from the world-famous professors and accomplished scholars at Yale? This is why you should be admitted and have access to these resources?

  • Anonymous

    Ned, you point out a big problem at Yale and I appreciate that you wrote this editorial. I feel it lacked significant amounts of tact and often resorted to stereotyping, but it was certainly bold, makes a number of great points, and has sparked a valuable discussion. I think a number of your comments about Yale are dead on. The very fact that there is, to an extent, a special admissions process for recruited athletes is problematic and creates a rift between athletes and non-athletes from day one. As a non-recruited athlete, but as someone who has played sports throughout life and participates intercollegiately at Yale, I personally know students who were just about as qualified to attend Yale as I was, but did not get in. It pains me to see athletes here in their place who I know were not as academically or extracurricularly qualified in high school, besides being good enough at a sport to be recruited. This is not to say that being good enough at a sport to be recruited by a Division-I school is not a spectacular accomplishment in itself: it certainly is and is one that deserves praise and high evaluation when making an admissions decision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that it becomes an overriding factor in the admissions process it creates an automatic divide. For example, when recruited athletes are given a different color admissions envelope than the rest of the applicant pool so admissions officers know that this person is a recruit, or when there are codified numerical academic requirements that sports teams at Yale must not fall below despite the fact that these requirements are sometimes far lower than the average at Yale, it is a problem for the academic integrity of Yale. This is DEFINITELY not to say that all athletes are not academically qualified to attend Yale. Indeed, most are certainly qualified and I personally am great friends with a number of athletes who are very smart and driven students and who do much better than some non-athletes I know. This is merely stating the fact that in order to be an athletic-recruit, the academic admissions standards are lower than for the rest of the pool. The fact that everyone knows this, athletes and non-athletes alike, creates a division that is difficult to bridge, but easier if you keep an open mind and don’t resort to quick stereotyping. If everyone did that and didn’t refer to other Yalies as “athletes” or “normies” or “regs,” but instead got to know them first, there would be a lot more understanding on this campus and perhaps less of a gap.

  • Anonymous

    #96 If you take your prejudice glasses off you will see that he didn't compare learning from his teammates to learning from professors, he compared it to learning from his classmates.

  • I Throw Curves

    One thing that Ned's column did not try to do was spark valuable discussion. We need to be clear on this. When people have used Ned's mention of the athlete/non-athlete separation to question the relative importance of athletics at Yale, they have gone beyond what Ned wrote. He does not argue that although athletes benefit the school, admissions ought to weigh athletics differently than it does relative to other talent areas that students offer. Instead, he makes the stronger claim that student athletes contribute nothing to our collegiate environment.

    Fulmer writes that there is a fundamental cultural separation between athletes and non-athletes. According to him, the athlete culture is counter to academic success, yet our athletes perform poorly at their sports. Hence, Yale Athletics cannot justify its current existence. Some change must be made. The options are to ‘go big, or go home.’

    Fulmer is not ambivalent about which option he prefers. The unspoken answer he gives is that Yale’s athletes should just go home. He offers Stanford as the model of a university that ‘goes big’ and excels both athletically and academically. But Stanford is able to succeed athletically only because it offers athletic scholarships. Since Ivy League schools cannot and will not offer athletic scholarships, the Stanford alternative is closed. So, Ned's argument leads to the conclusion that athletes should leave our University.

    It is also interesting to see that even this Stanford alternative is derisive to athletes. Sports are tolerated there, Fulmer believes, because they draw large crowds. The cultural rift that Fulmer sees between athletes and non-athletes still does not disappear. Athletes lack a serious place in universities regardless of whether they go big or go home.

    If you think that this column has been received with hatred that only re-iterates the jock stereotype, keep in mind that the column argues for the removal of all athletes from Yale. Anger seems warranted.

  • Athlete

    Yes there are different color admissions envelopes, but that doesn't mean the person is automatically admitted. There are plenty of recruits that aren't admitted every year even when coaches put their full support behind those athletes.

    To those that are complaining that athletes get special treatment in admissions? How much time did you spend on extra curriculars in high school? Me? I got up before 4:30 am everyday and got home after 6:30 pm because I had practices twice a day. How do you think it felt to exercise for four hours a day before STARTING my homework in the evening?

    Yet, I still made the cut to get into Yale, just like you Ned. And truth be told, my athlete friends and I graduating this year will probably be more successful than you, because of our ability to balance athletics and classes and because we're incredibly competitive and have been incredibly successful at both.

  • y09

    Let's look at it this way: even for non-athletes who don't devote however many countless hours a week to sports, Yale academics make life hell. Is it really fair to ask kids to take on both challenges at once and expect them to succeed at both? And if not, where do the priorities of the university lie?

  • Reality

    Charlotte (#45),

    I agree with your rebuttal to Ned's piece except the part where you suggest that he should have called Stanford "the Yale of the West" instead of "the Harvard of the West." What? Ha ha ha ha.

    Nobody calls anywhere "the Yale of anything." Be serious.

  • Anonymous

    #90's comment is almost MORE offensive than Ned's article. If you take a look at the serious comments made by athletes and non-athletes, I think it is clear that the athlete/non-athlete "rift" is promoted by non-athletes. Why are people so quick to label someone as an athlete. I know plenty of non-athletes that actually contribute nothing to the school. They skip class, don't do their work, and don't participate in any extra-curricular activities. Don't be so quick to judge athletes, or anyone for that matter. The reality is that there are people, athletes and non-athletes, who don't care about school. Stop writing this offensive and pointless comments that are only making things worse.

  • @ 48

    You're deaf and haven't done even the most basic research on this very site: "When Sada Jacobson '04 led the Yale Womens Fencing Team against Harvard University, she was granted a Dean's Excuse."
    http: //www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/7125

  • Anonymous

    True story, ask anyone in '84 PC -- a lax player wrote a paper freshman year in Art History Class on the works of "Circa." The TA as comment wrote: "Are you a moron?"
    Nothing like this happened to my knowledge to a non-athlete.
    Perhaps your experiences are different. The bottom line is that there are some very smart athletes and unfortunately some very dumb ones. The amount of time a team sport requires makes it difficult, not impossible, but difficult to put academics as first priority.
    And you can't treat Yale sports in a blanket fashion. There are a few sports where Yale competes on a national level (one might say, so what?), but no one can seriously claim that for football or basketball (and again, so what?) Anyone who believes the outside world's perception of Yale is based on it's national ranking in crew or football or any athletics is seriously deluded -- no one gives a ____ or knows "women's eight" from whatever. In fact, few on campus give a ____ about Yale Varsity sports. This is true across the HYP schools. When I was in graduate school at Princeton, no one seemed to be interested in talking about the Princeton lacrosse team, who were at the time being led by Coach Tierney to be the NCAA Div. I Champions. Most people had never even heard of Tierney, one of the most successful coaches in lax history.
    The value of your Yale degree to the outside world will be predicated on Yale's academic preeminence -- why not be happy with that?
    One other thing to consider -- the very vehemence of the arguments by sports supporters and the use of such statements as "The problem with Ned Fulmer ’09 is that he is not a student-athlete" only underscore the issue Ned somewhat clumsily was trying to identify: "student-athletes" consider themselves different than non-student-athletes and those who are not "student-athletes" have a "problem" somehow as a natural consequence. That's what a statement like "The problem with ____ is that he/she is not a student-athlete" says. Think about it…

  • to #96

    First, how can you judge the “lesson” here without knowing what, exactly, he/she has learned?

    Second, should one be admitted to this University only to take advantage of the world-famous professors and accomplished scholars? I hope not. Yale University is amazing because it recognizes the importance of learning outside of the classroom and the value of nonacademic college experiences. This is one reason why it focuses on accepting students with different backgrounds and interests - so that they can learn from each other and continue to do these activities in order to provide a stimulating environment for all students. Should students be told not to do theater because they learn lessons acting in a play that are on par with what they learn in the classroom? If someone can manage to learn as much outside of class as they do from their professors, that is a positive statement that they are, in fact, learning more than the student who only learns from his professors.

    I hope you, during your time at Yale, had time not only to take advantage of the world-famous professors and accomplished scholars (as we all do, being students here), but to take part in an activity that taught some other sort of “lesson.”

  • change requested

    before you submit the last comment, could you change the "to #96" to "to #98? thanks.

  • Alumnus

    If this article is a direct criticism of the two "highest profile" sports, I will use some data to explain why Ned should put down the pen and figure out another niche in life.

    Every year in America, by my rough estimates, approximately 150,000 high school students graduate having played varsity basketball and approximately 500,000 graduate having played varsity football. Every year there are on average approximately 1,000 Division 1 scholarships availailable for basketball and about 1,600 scholarhips to play football in the FBS (I-A). Every member of the men's basketball team who was recruited received at least one and as many as 20 scholarship offers. Most members of the football team were offered either scholarships or preferred walk-on roles on FBS teams. By simple math, Yale athletes on the most "mediocre" teams, the ones towards whom the aggressively idiotic "no talent" insult was actually directed are in the top 1% or higher of athletes nationwide.

    The SAT is designed to fit a normal distribution about a mean score of 500 per section. With that understanding, approximately 99.7% of students can be, in theory, measured by the test. Based on some simple statistics, a student with a 1480 on his/her (oldschool) SATs is in the same percentile as a varsity athlete in said two sports.

    To find an athlete who is of both the highest scholastic aptitude (as the test was once thought to determine) and of the highest athletic caliber is no easy task. Schools like Stanford, Duke, and Notre Dame offer competition at the highest levels in nationally televised games with full scholarships and, as much as we would love to boast Yale's status as THE BEST, these schools have comparably impressive academic reputations. They also have conference tournaments, allow their football teams to play in the post season, and do not limit their own athletes with league specific rules that put their teams at a disadvantage against out of conference teams such as limitations on out of season practice and year-round workouts by requiring summer school.

    Despite all of this, at the end of the 2006-2007 season the men's basketball team finished with a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) of 142 out of 336 teams. Notable teams that had lower RPIs were Seton Hall, Miami (FL), St. Mary's, Cincinnati, San Diego, Northwestern, Temple, Minnesota, Penn State, Arizona State, Rutgers, Duquesne, Colorado, and just for humor's sake, Harvard. As recently as 2002 (the storied surprise near NCAA berth), Yale finished the season with an RPI of 102, ahead of Nevada, UMass, NORTH CAROLINA, Washington, Colorado, Seton Hall, Florida State, Kansas State, George Washington, San Diego, Michigan, Clemson, Wichita State, Drake, DePaul, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Penn State, and again, just for fun, Harvard.

    The football team in this past season was ranked as highly as 14th in the FCS (I-AA) despite not offering any scholarships or an opportunity to compete for a national championship.

    I happened to be riding a train a few weekends ago and ran into Ed McCarthy who was not only an All-American football player, he was an incredible student who will attend a top 5 law school next year. I would like to see Ned compete in an academic decathalon against Ed or line up against the mountain of a man in pads. I would like to see him stand in the lane as one of my former teammates or I came in full speed to see if he would be willing to take a charge. I would like to see him refute my arguments made above about the fact that Yale athletes are slightly above "mediocre". I think that all of the responses above, and those that I have made here, have shown that athletes can be of higher intellect than a non-athlete - specifically Ned Fulmer. I have a lot of non-athlete friends, but you, Ned, will never be one of them.

  • EX-YWS

    While I do not want to belabor the points that several of my fellow readers have posted, I was very much affected by Ned’s article and feel it is only appropriate to comment. I am going to resist my urge to go on the defensive (mostly because the posts of my fellow athletes have done a great job with that already). I will also spare you the stats of Yale’s most impressive student-athletes. I choose to ignore Ned's insults; nothing productive will come of them.

    In my opinion, Ned’s article is useful insofar as it has sparked a conversation among Yalies about the dynamics of student life at Yale. Though I understand Ned’s observations regarding the divide between “athletes” and “non-athletes,” I think his insight is based on a grave generalization and that he is actually missing the point.

    The real issue here, I believe, is one of identity and self-defense. Instead of asking why Yale supposedly compromises its integrity on somehow subpar athletes, maybe we should look at deeper issues: What inspires us athletes to self-segregate? Why must we so conspicuously traipse around campus sporting our team-issued sweats? In short, what prompts us to tilt our identities as “student-athletes” such that the right-hand side of that equation bears more weight? Perhaps it is because we feel that our identity— say nothing of our legitimacy—is under constant scrutiny.

    From the get-go, many athletes at Yale feel that their fellow “non-athlete” students expect them to fail. They feel judged because they “didn’t get in on their own.” Many athletes, myself included, have appropriated this judgment and transformed it into a defense-mechanism. While such a defense can by handy in fending off comments from acquaintances at home (prodding, “you actually go to Yale?!”), within the social and academic institutions of Yale, owning such a defense is only detrimental. We set ourselves apart—and not necessarily in a good way.

    I’ll agree with you, Ned; perhaps some of us act out because we are so consumed with the expectation that we don’t deserve to be here. The presumption of our inferiority becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, I argue that such behavior is not the norm, but rather the exception to the rule. Furthermore, I urge you to look beyond the appearance of your athlete peers and realize that the signs of apathy or unpreparedness you perceive may be just a diversion; something to satisfy your expectation. Below the surface, we Yale athletes must overcome challenges you don’t even know about; including, of course, the prejudices upon which your argument is predicated.

    I’d like to propose the idea that perhaps it is the very judgment of people like you, Ned, that has caused some of us athletes to cleave to the ‘typical’ athlete persona. You expect us to be meatheads, to underperform, to stick together and not participate; on the surface, we behave accordingly.

    Perhaps you should try treating us as equals. I think instead of pointing out your problems with athletes, you should maybe try to get to know one or two of them. You might be surprised at the caliber of Yalie you encounter.

  • another non-athlete

    a few things….
    1) If athletes were the same as non-athletes would we be making this an issue?

    2) Yes! There are some dumb jocks out here, but there are also some brilliant ones. Just like Yale has some "dumb" legacy admits and some brilliant ones.

    3) How about the students recruited to be in a capella groups or to be a part of YSO…. I can bet you there are some that are brilliant and others not so much! There is a double standard here and we seem to ignore it because these students don't have "athlete" attached to their title.

    Student-athletes are only different because we choose to make them different. Do we really want everyone to be exactly the same? NO! instead, we should celebrate our differences. That is why I think Yale is so special we have great diversity.

  • Anonymous

    I went to a high school full of athletes. Most of them were excellent players, but few of them went to top academic schools. The athletes here are both extremely smart and excellent players. I find that a tough balance than few people can accomplish. Yale's the place for people like them. Ned, think again about what it takes to be a Yale athlete.

  • Anonymous

    Ned and some of his supporters make an assumption that I don't quite understand. First, I obviously disagree with the characterization of student-athletes as cocky thugs who don't care about academics. This is clearly untrue of most student-athletes at Yale. But even if it WERE true, what does it matter to you? Is it really doing so much irreparable damage to your "intellectual experience" when one person, athlete or not, shows up to section unprepared? Is your entire fifty-minute lecture ruined when someone, athlete or not, saunters in 10 minutes late? Bottom-line is that you'd be hard-pressed to find a college atmosphere that's more intellectually fulfilling than Yale. We are all so incredibly lucky to attend a school filled with smart and diverse minds. If you're going to tell me that a few athletes whose priorities may not exactly align with your own are DESTROYING your "pure" intellectual bubble and absolutely hampering you from living an enriching academic life here, then you are either spoiled, delusional, or both.

  • Magooch

    stanford looks like an enormous taco bell and it makes me so hungry. but i can't find cheesy gorditas when i go there.

    having said that, I would argue that while i see everyone's point and applaud them for having this convo, how does one explain 3 things: (which i don't know the answer to)
    1-how was yale ridiculously dominant for much of the 20th century in football (b/c only rich white guys played football? uh….)
    2-how does one explain the yalies that make it in the nfl, nhl, mlb etc today?
    3-and lastly, maybe race is involved in the athlete non-athlete divide at yale more than we like to admit? b/c one could argue that maybe there are proportionally more white athletes at yale than at a big d-1 school? which may accentuate the divide, no?

    Not complaining about my yale experience as a student-athlete, it was the greatest - even though we didn't have a taco bell either. And to give hope to the notion that we can be who we are and still compete- I really think a lot of great athletes who are smart enough get passed over by the D-1 programs and don't get recruited. And the D-1AA programs don't have the money (given to them) or the recruiting systems to find these guys - Ohio State knows when a star recruit eats and poops but I don't think D-1AA programs have the resources to find out some guy's SAT score (hyperbole to illustrate a point). A lot of guys fall through the cracks is all I am saying- but to have a great team you need good players which we have and maybe only a few great players. (Stephan Curry of Davidson, QB at Appalachian St beating Michigan AT THE BIG HOUSE). If the recruiting system was perfect at all levels how does one explain Jerry Rice, Walter Payton (arguably THE BEST at their positions EVER) who didn't go to D-1 programs. It's easy to say they were exceptions and flukes but maybe there is a middle ground in this debate where we just need to improve recruiting only a little w/o recruiting thousands of top athletes so that it's no longer "Yale"-but only a few more and we're game. Just an idea…I could be an idiot.

  • Anonymous

    #111 By EX-YWS
    Your thoughtful analysis and it being done even through the reasonable urge to be defensive nearly brought tears to my eyes because it embodies all that I have come to believe a Yale education is about. You are exactly the sot of person to bridge the gap between the athletes and non-athletes -- I suspect you already do so. Clearly no one can question your analytic and writing skills and plain intellectual honesty and therefore credibility. And you make no bones about being an athlete either. There are reasons for all the behaviors, prejudice begetting self-exclusion, begetting prejudice. Please, everyone, listen to EX-YWS, and like-minded people, listen, empathize and learn and broaden your perspectives in the finest of Yale traditions.

  • unregistered

    "3) How about the students recruited to be in a capella groups or to be a part of YSO…. I can bet you there are some that are brilliant and others not so much! There is a double standard here and we seem to ignore it because these students don't have "athlete" attached to their title."

    No one is "recruited" to be in the YSO or any a Capella group to the degree that athletes are recruited to be on a Yale athletic team.

  • to #117

    How do you know to what degree the athletes are being recruited compared to the other groups? Really it doesn't matter! In the end they are these singers and musicians are being recruited and some of them are also sub-par students, but no one wants to talk about that.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Ned's arguments were inflammatory and did not take into account those exceptional student athletes who are actually smart. But, how can we deny that there is some truth in what he is saying? Some athletes do fill up gut classes and are often rowdy when they attend (however infrequently). They make up, on average, a substantial number of Toads patrons on a Wednesday night. It is this category of athletes that stands out on the Yale campus, no matter how much in the minority they actually are. Give Ned a break!

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Fulmer should embrace the student athlete. Who better to absorb the handful of non A grades distributed by Yale. What is the average GPA of the regular student, of the student athlete? It is difficult to have a meaningful discussion without these numbers. Disclosed, I am sure they would highlight a much more alarming issue: pervasive grade inflation. Until Yale, who professes in a Wikipedia entry to place great emphasis on the formation of leaders, attempts to become transparent with these stats (as some of its Ivy colleagues have already done), we can assume that the numbers are embarrassing.

  • Mike

    What the hell is going on at Yale??? The admissions department doesn't stop to think about the effect of admitting a member of the Taliban. A senior creates such an obnoxious resume video that he becomes the laughingstock of the internet. A guest columnist with a mens- not-so-sana up his posterio sano insults every jock who happens not to make Phi Beta Kappa while balancing academics, sports, and Rudy's. And now we have vaginal-discharge-as-art, apparently with the knowledge and approval of a member of the faculty.

    My alma mater is asking to be tagged as a den of flippin' morons.

  • Pissed Alum

    What I find most disturbing about Ned's article is that it is not alone in voicing this viewpoint--it is perpetuating a stereotype that I battled against the entire time I was a student-athlete at Yale. Practically every year, the YDN has an article claiming that athletes are pulling down the quality of student or quality of student life at Yale, claiming sub-standard admissions policies for athletes allow less intelligent athletes to get in over "better qualified" non-athlete applicants. Each year, athletes respond with articulate outrage at the perpetuation of the stereotype. What is most depressing is that the stereotype continues despite all our efforts to the contrary.

    To add another voice to the athletes in protest, my story: While at Yale, my closest friends were mostly non-athletes. They were the people I met while singing in my a cappella goup, while volunteering, while in class, or while eating meals on weekends in my residential college (like many other athletes, I could never make weekday meals at my college because I was all-too-often racing off directly to section from practice, having to forgo dinner altogether until I could pick up a sandwich from Gourmet Heaven, or would get back from the fields after 7, thereby being forced to eat in Commons). I'm insulted by this sort of article primarily as an athlete--I turned down scholarships at three top D1 schools in order to come to Yale, and I continued to be heavily involved in the Olympic Development program while in college--but also as a student who faced discrimination from professors and classmates when they would discover what I did in my "spare time" was a sport. I was kicked out of class for "dressing inappropriately" when I came dressed for practice (because I had no time to change between practice and class), I was harassed about asking for extra help outside of office hours that were only offered during my practice times, and I constantly had to prove to my classmates that I "deserved" to be in the high level classes I was taking.

    I was admitted to Yale as a recruited athlete. I also had a 1600 on the SATs and was admitted to Harvard as a "reg". I graduated from Yale with honors as a double-major, while competitively participating at the highest level in my sport. I am sick of hearing every year that I did not deserve to be an Eli because I donned a jersey the four years I was in New Haven. I realize I am not the typical Yale athlete, but I think after closer examination, very few Yalies of any sort are ever "typical". Please stop assuming that athletes are the exception to that rule.

  • A Mom of Athletes and Non Athletes

    I find it all so pathetically sad, that any student at Yale would define "academically inferior" a student athlete, who if he or she is a Yalie has at least a B but more likely a B+ or higher GPA, while juggling athletics and other extracurricular activities that build resumes necessary for admission to the "elite" institutions. It would be far better if each of us would look for the best in one another….even those "average" pieces of each of our intellectual, athletic, artistic,and other abilities. If Ned and all the others who label above average intellectual ability (as defined by the multi-billion dollar higher education industries that students, parents and colleges continue to perpetuate)as unacceptable at Yale, it is a measure of their own insecurity. It is only the insecure that find the need to tell the world that are intellectually superior because they are at Yale, or they achieved a 1600 on the SATS (after paying some consulting thousands of dollars to learn the game), or they have a GPA of over 4.0 and maxed out the AP courses at their high school. As for me, I would choose the student-athlete or non athlete who goes about their daily life working diligently --with compassion and empathy for members in and out of their "own" community and with a sincere and developing intellectual curiosity …Yale and the world community would be a happier and healthier place. Find some peace in who you are…make room for tolerance and a little ambiguity. Lighten up and let go of the anger. Make it the best time of you life…feed the hungry, clothe the homeless, build a habitat house, tutor a kid---go to a concert, a museum, a lacrosse or football game….even a frat house…whatever floats your boat. But be kind to one another and as MLK Jr. reminds us Life's Most Persistent and Urgent Question is "What Are You Doing For Others?" So please stop judging and start living and loving.

  • Anonymous

    #122 "My alma mater is asking to be tagged as a den of flippin' morons."

    Do you really believe this? Who is going to do this tagging? Some of the reactions in this thread verge on hysteria. Is our alma mater asking to be tagged as a den of flippin' hysterics?

    #122 You done good. You proved the doubters wrong. As you cogently note, "very few Yalies of any sort are ever 'typical'" Nearly every Yale student battles some form of prejudice, racial, gender, athlete, public school product, not being from the East Coast, poor, even trust-fund brat, shy, nerdy, yes, and athlete also, from professors, fellow classmates, men, women, so your travails are familiar in some form to nearly all. Imagine for a moment what Black or Hispanic students must go through with the assumptions about affirmative action and the generalizations which flow from this.
    (The language of that debate is remarkably similar, the "you're not so you can't understand", citations of exceptions to generalizations.) So I hope you're not trying to tell us that your experience of prejudice is somehow special. At least athletes hve the choice to not be athletes, and I know a number of fine scholars who did just that. You had a choice alum and I would suggest you be proud of it and keep it as an award or medal of sorts a badge of distinction and not wear it as a festering wound. Does anyone who evaluates you now who matters look down on your years as an athlete, spouse, children or yourself? I would think not. Did the absence of the approbation of everyone at Yale of your athletic abilities prevent you from deriving satisfaction from them? I think the answer must be firm "no." So do you really believe your accomplishments are actually diminished now by the ramblings of some undergraduate? Are you, that is, actually deeply insulted? I would hope not.
    I would also note as gently as possibly that the statements relating to prejudice on the part of professors and classmates and "harassment" beg generalizations I'm sure you don' want to make about non-athletes. Are you willing to do for these non-athletes what you ask them to do, engage in acts of empathy and attempts at understanding?

  • '07 athlete

    Back when I was on the team the average GPA was around 3.5. Kids in athletics that I rolled with seemed just as smart as the general Yale population, although its true many of them do not invest as much time in academics as other students. In general, there is less of a sense among them that grades are the ultimate arbiter of success, and I think there is something healthy about that and that its mostly true. I came across a few kids though, who had nothing going on upstairs. That said, of the several kids I know who we're kicked out of yale/forced to take time off, none were athletes, so go figure.

  • #122

    To #124:

    I in no way mean to diminish the struggle of any minority at Yale, or to suggest that the struggle of an athlete is in some way more difficult than that of a student dealing with any other form of prejudice. What concerns me is that anti-athlete prejudice is for some reason allowed to be so blatant in articles such as this one. I realize minority students fighting against the stereotype that they only got in due to affirmative action face an extraordinary battle, yet in my four years at Yale, I never read an article in the Herald or the YDN claiming that students of a racial minority did not belong at Yale, or that having minority students brought down the intellectual level of the classes and seminars. Clearly that would be a false statement, a blatantly bigoted statement, and one that would cause outrage on the behalf of minority students not only by the students of racial minorities, but also by a large majority of the student body and the administration as well.

    I am extremely proud of having been a Yale athlete. Although I played one of the less-popular sports, and therefore rarely had student fans at games, I treasure every minute I spent on the field fighting for Yale. The "absence of approbation" is a non-issue; one of the greatest things about Yale is that almost everyone at Yale has an outstanding talent, be it musical, athletic, dramatic, academic, etc. and therefore being known as an "all-star" by the population at large is almost nonsensical. What is disturbing is when the accomplishments and hard work of an extraordinary group of students is dismissed so easily and with such bigotry. It is not the "ramblings of some undergraduate" that truly insults me, it is that the biased sentiments are given a forum in a campus paper time and time again, and just as every feminist, ethnic minority, etc. who has had to face systematic discrimination can tell you, repeated insults based on an untrue stereotype are infuriating and degrading.