Zupsic: Athletes are Yalies, too

A quote I read in a recent issue of the News has stirred some ire within me, not so much because of the personal affront as because of the prospect that Yale is heading down the wrong path. The remark was attributed to President Levin not wanting “quite so many athletes,” as though student-athletes were some lower class of undergrads.

My view may be slanted since I was a student-athlete myself, but I think my jock brethren have made the world proud of Yale. Just from my football teammates alone, I count judges, doctors and corporate executives. And expanding my vista to the other teams (wrestling, soccer, crew, etc.) you can find many more leaders in public and private organizations. And why do we athletes go on to become leaders? Because we learn the value of teamwork firsthand through sports. Not to mention we’re usually the ones on the front lines dispelling prejudice, because we understand you cannot measure people by their sex, color, religion, or even college affiliation in lieu of their actions. Personally, I feel Yale, and the world, could use a few more student-athletes who become trained in group dynamics, problem solving, personal sacrifice for the overall good, and a host of other positive traits put to use for God and Country.

It appears that Rick Levin has bought into the “Game of Life” philosophy, published by Bowen of Princeton, that the elite universities would do better to reduce the admittance of athletes, since that would obviously provide more openings for future Nobel Prize winners. So what’s next? Will they make the same argument for other “non-academic” pursuits — like music and drama? No one is going to win a Nobel Prize in a cappella. Perhaps we should turn Sprague Hall into a science lab. Maybe it doesn’t stop there, and the momentum for elitism starts to chip away at the fringes of academia itself. Shall we ask Bowen what should be the serious, professional pursuits at Yale?

My point is I don’t think we should be going down this path. My understanding of Yale, from the day I was recruited for admission through my 30-plus years as an ASC volunteer, has always been that the whole of the student is to be developed, with excellence achieved in as many facets as possible. Yale can fill its classrooms tenfold with straight-A high school students. But Yale is about getting a group of diverse people with multiple talents and challenging them to achieve even more. That’s what separated the Ivy League from other fine schools like MIT — we could go head-to-head with them in the classroom and on the field or stage.

And by the way, athletes can be good both in the classroom and on the field. I am proud to this day when I tell people that four of my teammates a year ahead of me were drafted into the NFL, but one of them didn’t play because he went to Harvard Law School instead. The Ivies and Stanford were always a beacon for all colleges, showing that athletes can and should do well in academics, too. That’s a pretty compelling example when you tell someone Yale’s star tailback almost missed The Game because he was first attending his Rhodes Scholarship interview. It took time, but the NCAA is coming around to our way of thinking. Let’s continue to be leaders. That’s our Lux.

Finally, I think this discussion should be expanded beyond the question of what is the right balance among the various affinity groups. We can ease that burden simply by contributing to the building of the two new residential colleges so we can let more great candidates into Yale — more athletes, actors, entrepreneurs and community leaders. The statistic the administration should be focusing on is the one showing Princeton and Dartmouth with a significantly higher level of alumni fund participation. Why do their alums have greater allegiance? Maybe an elitist attitude has too many of our students feeling like “you people.” It is obvious to me that more needs to be done to make all Yalies feel included, working not only for God and Country, but also for Yale.

Charlie Zupsic is a 1976 graduate of Timothy Dwight College .


  • silliwin01

    It’s just that a lot of the athletes are kind of stupid.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Around 1977 I was eating lunch at Patrcia’s restaurant with the time-keepers for Yale Track meets . Coach Carm Cozza joined the group. He mentioned the difficulty of recruitng foootball players to Yale this way:

    “This year every freshman entering Yale was valedictorian of his high school class.”

    Now that this week’s New Yorker Magazine asks the question “Does Football Have a Future: The N.F.L. and the Concussion Crisis” in a ten page brilliantlly researched article, we need two Yale ghosts to straighten Mr. Levin out: Walter Camp and Bart Giamatti.

    Camp, to reform the rules and make the sport no longer “collision football” and
    Bart Giamatti, another Yale President, to remind us : “Winning isn’t everything.”

    It isn’t that we need fewer “athletes” at Yale, we need the Yale athletes to use their brains to re-position concusssion-athletics to a wholesome spot in our national life.

  • 11

    Athletes have an extra burden on them because they get preference in admissions. It’s a trade off that applicants knowingly engage in. Many of the recruits I’ve met are not particularly distinguishable from the general population in terms of academic talent. But a few i’ve met are legitimately dumb as rocks. Some had to do an extra year of high school to improve their lackluster grades. Many score hundreds of points lower on their SAT than would be expected of admitted applicants from similar backgrounds. This sort of institutional preference engenders resentment. If athletes want to prove their as qualified as anyone else, they should apply through the normal channels and walk on to a team in their freshman year.

  • Skeptic

    As “11” pointed out, the issue is not student-athletes, per se, but rather their specific admission preferences. Other areas of student talent pointed out by Mr. Zupsic, music and drama (and indeed, other areas that might be involved in the derisive “Nobel Prize” category) do not have quotas or other specific recruitment conditions. If the athletic activities of an applicant were factored into the admission decision as are math prizes, viola playing, and poetry publications, there would be no problem. It is the singular advantage that this one extracurricular activity gives an applicant that some of us see as a problem. To use a sports analogy, let’s level the playing field. Admit students, then let those who want to play athletics do so for all the reasons so often cited. To admit athletes, and then call them students is unfair to the rest of the Yale community.

  • River Tam

    > Will they make the same argument for other “non-academic” pursuits — like music and drama?

    I’m crossing my fingers.

  • RexMottram08

    Giamatti was a clown.

    @skeptic, Didn’t Yale just specially fly in and host a group of science/math students?

  • 201Y1

    Aw, how quaint! An out-of-touch alumnus.

    Newsflash: it’s much harder to get in now than it was in ’72. Yes, there are some brilliant, hardworking athletes who go on to become Rhodes scholars, etc. Nobody is saying there aren’t. But many are substandard students and anti-intellectual jocks, and would not have gotten in if not for their “recruit status.” When so many talented, driven kids are applying, it seems a shame to waste spots on people who don’t go to class.

    Of course, on the other hand, that’s not to say there aren’t non-athletes who aren’t slackers, either. But get over your personal bias, come to campus and have a look at the way things really are. And stop conflating conventional “success” in the realms of business, medicine and law with certain intelligence and work ethic. That’s not how life works; you’re old enough to know better.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Some clown.

    He handed in his dissertation on 300 handwritten-doublesided-yellow-pad pages of lined paper.

    It came back with one sentence on it:

    “This is the most brilliant dissertation I have ever read.”

  • wtf

    Guys, stop complaining. We need someone to bring the curve down.

  • ds747

    Sorry, Mr. Zupsic, but you went to Yale at a very different time. I mean, women were only allowed to enroll in the college 7 years prior to your graduation, and the admissions rate was, what, above 50%? Yeah.

  • Sour11

    I would love to see a non-athlete wake up at 6:30 4 mornings a week, go through a workout, then go to class, practice, lift, and then try and do school work. None of you would last more than two weeks before dropping out. Also, 11, figure your spelling out, “their” is not correct. Sorry I’m not sorry you don’t play sports and you still don’t know how to use a dictionary.

  • ds747

    I mean, I’d love to see an athlete take a class that wasn’t a gut. Or maybe two such classes, or three, or how about four?

  • River Tam
  • River Tam
  • RexMottram08

    I would be careful about criticizing guts…. you might not like where they are heavily concentrated…

    Women’s/Gender Studies would be the first place to start…

    Dirty secret: Most Yale classes are a total joke and waste of time.

  • dc2013

    Yale would be completely different world without athletes. Where would all the Bulldog pride be without them? Without athletics Yale would be like MIT where everyone is so absorbed in their classes that they trudge around school with their hands in their pockets and faces looking to the ground. Sure a capella is great and so are other student performances, but do those endeavors actually give students something to rally behind? No. Athletes are a crucial part of the Yale community and deserve to be here just as much as anyone else. There are some athletes who aren’t great students, but there are also many other students who don’t succeed in classes like you would expect. We want diversity here right? Athletes help bring diversity. Like Soure11 said, you try and commit as much time as most of us do to our sports and see how well you can perform. Athletes are not stupid and we do contribute to this University as much and if not more than most students.

  • River Tam

    > Without athletics Yale would be like MIT where everyone is so absorbed in their classes that they trudge around school with their hands in their pockets and faces looking to the ground.

    Have you met any kids from MIT? They have a lot of school pride. Moreso than most Yalies, frankly.

  • athlete13

    Mr. Zupsic is 100% correct to point out the post-Yale success of student-athletes. Participation in college athletics engenders the dedication needed to succeed in such demanding jobs. If you have an exam the next day and you’re not an athlete, you can easily clear your calendar to study. No such luck if you have practice or a competition. Similarly, once real life comes around, you can’t duck out of going to work because you’re kinda tired that day.

    As far as admissions support for athletes goes, the playing field is level. In fact, it is leveled by supporting athletes. Those Intel competition winners and concert pianists automatically gain the support that athletes receive by nature of being recruited. Everyone who applies and gets into Yale has a hook! But those that are seen as more academic do not need to be brought to the forefront as much as athletics do.

    I can guarantee that I put just as much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into my High School athletic career as any non-athlete put into her extracurricular that made her application stand out from the rest. Well, I probably put more blood in, and I will continue to bleed Yale Blue through this sabotage.

  • Killer

    It amuses me to see the resentment of some of the posters, to wit, that they are forced to co-habit with lower intellectual life forms than might otherwise be in their class were it not for athletic”recruited status”. Even assuming arguendo thats true, there is everything right with a campus that has this kind of diversity. Does Stanford suffer, reputationally or substantively, for having highly recruited athletes in 20-plus sports that compete well on a national level? I think not.

    I know if I have to choose someone with whom to share a foxhole – literally in a battle, figuratively in corporate or other such challenges, or even when the bar is running low – I’ll take a Yale athlete anytime. Yale athletes range intellectually from pedestrian-but-hardworking to clever to smart to brilliant; any of those are just fine for me. They are color-blind. They are competitive. They are disciplined. They know how to multi-task. They’ll give the jersey or shirt off their back to their colleagues. Whomsoever told you that “he or she who dies with the most technical skills wins” has misled you, I fear.

    When hiring at an investment bank or law firm, I can assure you the prospective Yale grad employers will leap to get a smart athlete over a smart piccolo player or thespian (and nothing here should be read to be seen as denigrating anyone’s contributions to Yale). Here’s the thing, though: its generally not true that geeks are the ones who will inherit the earth. I think Yale turns its back on its student-athletes at its peril

    So look down your pedantic noses at the Yale athlete as you wish. But do get a good look at their faces – because most of you will only be seeing the backs of these well-rounded folks as they sprint past you post-college.

  • Yalie

    “If you have an exam the next day and you’re not an athlete, you can easily clear your calendar to study. No such luck if you have practice or a competition. Similarly, once real life comes around, you can’t duck out of going to work because you’re kinda tired that day.”

    Sure, because only practice or competition could be important enough to be impossible to miss. Heck, a number of us, having moved on to real life, are able to go to work despite feeling kinda tired. In a few years, when you are up at 3:00AM to feed your child, ask yourself whether childcare and your job are more tiring than practice and class.

  • dm

    I am not a recruited athlete. Heck, I even struggle at b Hoops in IMs. But, I believe that the student-athlete has always, and should always, play an important role at Yale. It is a fallacy to suggest that a majority of recruits cannot do the work, or take nothing but guts. Your image may be the football frat star, but remember that the Ivy League actually sponsors the most sports of any athletic conference in America. There are a lot of recruits in various sports, and they are as diverse as the school.

    Further, if you really hate that Yale recruits, please don’t go to hockey games or The Game. Tickets at Ingalls are getting really hard to come by, and if you think that the kids who play for us shouldn’t be here, I’ll gladly take your spot in the student section.

  • athlete13

    Childcare and my job are going to be more tiring that practice and class, but what I’ve gone through will have me very well prepared (to raise members of the next generation of Yale athletes).

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    We’d be less annoyed at recruited athletes benefiting from a separate admissions process if only they were actually great athletes. Only a handful of Yale athletes in a few sports are even close to being among the best in the country.

  • wellpreserved

    Every time i peruse my Yale Daily News, I continue to be amazed at the myopic viewpoints of a few, with the intellectual snobery and point of view lacking in any true understanding of what the “REAL WORLD” is like, obviously coming from a “blue blood” that hasnt accomplished much in their sheltered and spoon fed existence up until this point. Derogatory, uninformed and obviously antagonistic comments from the insecure to try and bolster ones own “self-image” are comical to say the least, but when reviewed to the core, is a sad state of affairs. Specifically commenting on 201Y1 comment about many are substandard students, one should get their facts straight prior to commenting erroneously. Athetes as a whole actually perform quite well vs the overall student body in academic success and scores. Ignorant assumptions such as thee one made to form your comments are ‘intellectually embarrassing’ to those of us that regard ‘facts’ as pieces of information that cannot be changed to suit ones emotional point of view. To close out my rant, it is discouraging to think that this intellectual snobbery permeates the general student psyche around campus especially concerning the ‘misinformation’ of reduced standards for admission. It is safe to say that, if an interview and a personality test were required of many of the self-proclaimed ‘intellectuals’, i am sure the ‘standards’ would have to be lowered and overlooked for their admittance as well.

  • Sour11

    Freddyhoneychurch….i’m not sure what your activities are, but to make a statement like that you better be a top 5 trombone player or something…chances are high that you are very average in comparison to the rest of the world at what you do in your spare time

  • xfxjuice

    Out of every school in the nation, Yale Track and Field posted the highest average GPA.

  • River Tam

    > chances are high that you are very average in comparison to the rest of the world at what you do in your spare time

    FreddyHoneychurch won the 2002 $2500 No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw Tournament at the World Series of Poker in Vegas.

  • xfactor

    extending the example of track.. # 1 GPA in the nation, several high school all americans, a national champion relay member. specifically, on the girls side– Kate Grace, 3 time NCAA all-american.

    Looking at hockey… #1 in the nation for a LONG time. in the freshman class alone, 3 NHL drafted players

    Other sports… the same goes for all of them

    if you are going to belittle the dedication and talents of an entire sector of the school (around 17%), at least know what your talking about.

    everyone at this school has worked hard in their own right, and own way. athletes sacrificed hours and hours a day out of their lives to work at what they do here. the same goes with chemists, musicians, artists, etc… everyone needs to get off their psycho-competitive pedestals and realize that having a multifaceted, diverse student population with every single talent imaginable is the goal of our school. Not higher average GPA and SAT scores. to claim the athletes are stupid is just a self promoting attitude, and frankly, i feel sorry for you. once you leave the shelter of the yale bubble, your gonna get a nice punch in the face of reality. Athletes tend to be those who hire for jobs, those who get most jobs, and those who donate to this nice little endowment we have for ourselves.

    Whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant. Athletes here at yale spend every year brushing off the “stupid” stigma. Those narrow minded and insecure individuals who have spoken before about that notion only perpetuate a completely ridiculous stereotype.

  • River Tam

    > Out of every school in the nation, Yale Track and Field posted the highest average GPA.

    How’d they do at running Track & Field?

  • xfactor

    Also, if you knew how the recruitment process works for athletes, you would know that there ARE academic standards. Each application is still reviewed by the admissions board and the admissions board makes the final decision on acceptance or rejection. In fact, I personally KNOW people who were rejected athletes. So if you think that the varsity players here at yale didn’t achieve in high school, you are VERY sadly mistaken.

    Most recruit athletes SELECT yale out of a variety of schools. Often this is because yale is the one athletic school that will afford an academic challenge for them.

    If athletes do not belong, then I don’t think orchestra players, actors, artists, chemists, band kids, etc belong either.. that artistic supplement just gives them too damn much of a competitive advantage in admissions.

    I say everyone apply ONLY with their SAT score and high school GPA and we just select the top 7% numerically from there. That way everyone has a fair shot at this illustrious school.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I personally heard legendary Yale football coach Carm Cozza mention the difficulty of recruitng foootball players to Yale (circa 1977) this way:
    “This year every freshman entering Yale was valedictorian of his high school class.”

    Don’t tell ME Yale jocks are dumb!

  • GuessWho

    Great article.
    As for the comments, the opinions some of you have expressed here are nothing short of ignorant. @ds747 : I’m a recruited athlete in the middle of my season (competing every weekend) and I’m taking five classes, none of which could be called guts. Also, several teams have average GPAs which are higher than the average Yale GPA. To all you people out there making generalizations, STOP. Your blatant stereotyping fails to recognize the athletes that get good grades and have to work significantly harder than you do because they have a quarter of the time and half of the energy to do the same amount of work.

  • DonPadre

    Sour11 go innnnn young guy. Here’s why normies will never be as successful as athletes: zero communication skills, can’t interact with people in the real world, are not natural leaders, 40 time is a little slow, looks a little tight in the hips, and don’t use the hands well when dealing with bigger, stronger tackles. Athletes from Yale and other Ivies will go on to rule the world, along with non-athletes who hang out with athletes. Good luck with life of you are not an athlete or don’t get along well with athletes. Also, non-athletes don’t do well in social settings, especially Toad’s on Wednesdays from 11-11:20, not physical enough in line to get 5-12 rum-cokes, cranberry-jeezys, whiskey coke and $1 drafts. Also, can’t handle Saturday nights with Felix….haaaaaaaannnnhhhh

  • Dutch101

    Stop complaining about athletes. It’s life. GPA and SAT scores aren’t the only thing that makes a person worth something. If it weren’t for athletes, it’d be a pretty sad environment. Everyone would be the same. They’d have high GPA and test scores. For a school that claims to be diverse, they would be extremely hypocritical. Athletes are part of the college experience. Stop complaining about waking up for a 9:25 class when athletes get up at 5:30. Stop complaining that you have no time in the day when athletes have morning lifts/practice and afternoon film. I’m sorry not everyone was athletically gifted enough to recruited. The same people who are on here complaining about athletes are the ones who are too nervous to actually confront them in person. No social skills. Don’t know how to walk. Only concerned about the grades. Kind of a sad way of living.

  • Sour11

    Dutch101 you bring up a great point…let a normie tell me I don’t belong here to my face….the chances this happens are slim to none, but yet you still come to the Yale-Harvard game every year to cheer for me…

  • exwalkon

    @Sour11: I tried exactly what you described; I walked on to a Yale varsity team. I “lasted” much more than two weeks—a full season, in fact. I left for a number of reasons, but academic worries and the toll on my body were not among them (and no, I was not one of those walk-ons who for all intents and purposes is the team manager). I understand that sports at Yale are a large (and valuable) commitment. I understand that excelling at them requires talent and dedication. I very much respect Yale varsity team members both as athletes and as intellectuals. I still don’t think Yale (or any Ivy) should recruit (though I admit I would miss getting to watch such a good hockey team).

    The conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra does not get 5 guaranteed admissions spots for any 5 orchestral musicians of his choosing who meet basic academic standards (including one or more “low band” recruits whose academic credentials are below average within Yale’s pool). The Yale Debate Association does not get to tell the admissions office which 3 academically qualified public speakers of its choosing should get a likely letter. Heck, even the chair of Chemistry department cannot automatically “yes” the application of even 1 ISEF-level high school chemist. Defend athletic recruiting if you like, but don’t pretend it’s like other extracurricular (or curricular) hooks. It’s not.

    Finally, to the piece’s author: As a lifelong athlete, I know that what you say about team membership is largely true. Sports are a wonderful thing, and Yale should absolutely continue to offer varsity athletics. But why must athletic *recruiting* persist in its current unique form (rather than, say, in the form of the standard “boost” that exceptional artists, scientists, writers, and debaters get)?

    Wouldn’t it be *better* for sports-as-education if talented (but unrecruited) Yalies had to try out for one of the (coveted) spots on Yale’s varsity rosters? That’s how college athletics began. It’s how they still are at Oxford and Cambridge. Why should they be different at Yale? Before you say “because the other Ivies recruit and we’d lose,” remember that the Ivy League already limits recruiting more than other D1 schools do (no scholarships). Why shouldn’t it ban it altogether?

  • TheBlueLion

    The display of ignorance in this entire thread on the part of non-athletes is quite appalling. First, to say that athletes only take “gut” classes is not only wrong, but insulting to the professors who teach the courses. I personally am currently in 5 courses (and if you think Physics 200 is a gut, you’ve got something coming). Also, are you trying to say that all non-athletes just pile on the classes, savoring the workload and rigor? Some do, yeah, but most don’t. We all appreciate a fascinating class with a lighter homework load.
    Frankly, most of the resentment seems to stem from an overly competitive students concerned with admissions. Take a deep breath, and get off you’re high horse about how you deserve your spot more so than an athlete. You didn’t get in purely because of your GPA and your SAT scores, just as athletes cannot get into Yale on athletic talent alone, no matter how sensational.
    This prejudice against student athletes comes from imagining the stereotypical bro who looks like a football player. The number of people like that here is incredibly low, and most of them are a lot smarter than you’ve superficially judged them to be. Truth is, you don’t know of most of the student athletes in your class. You’ll notice the football players and the basketball players, but what about the fencers? And the squash players? They are some of, if not the best in the country although you’d never know it even from sitting next to them in class.
    Yale athletics are a source of pride for the entire college. You demand the top athletic teams in the nation, yet at the same time push for less recruiting. How can Yale crew stay competitive in the oldest collegiate sports competition in the nation, the Harvard-Yale Race, if Harvard is already recruiting 16 rowers each year compared to Yale’s 8. If athletics truly don’t matter to you, then just miss out–there’ll be more tickets for the rest of us 30,000 who attend the Harvard-Yale football game each year. The bulldog is nothing without athletes.
    If you still have a problem with us, come tell us in person.

    And oh yeah, I walked on.

  • silliwin01

    It’s just that some sports are useless ones that we don’t care about and basically function as affirmative action for rich white people (squash and crew), and some are important ones that have some bearing on school pride (football). I’m fine with having some special recruit for football teams, and athletes certainly add diversity to the campus, but let’s not pretend all of them are comparable Yale students academically.

  • BigHam

    The fact of the matter is, bits and pieces of what everyone is saying could probably be true of a given population of Yale students (athletes and non athletes), but why are we even having this conversation and debating who belongs at this school and who doesn’t? The fact of the matter is every person who is commenting on this thread got into this place for a different reason whether its athletics, academics, legacies, etc. Every person that is admitted to Yale stands out in a different aspect of their life and thats what makes this place one of the best universities in the world. Why can’t everyone just accept that a specific talent a person possesses to get in here (because everyone does have at least one thing that made them stand out to get into a school with an acceptance rate like Yale’s) doesn’t make someone less qualified to be admitted, but helps make Yale the unique place that it is. Yale is what it is because of the blend of talents it attracts and losing any of these would make it significantly less special.

  • TheBlueLion

    “It’s just that some sports are useless ones that we don’t care about and basically function as affirmative action for rich white people (squash and crew)…” @silliwin01

    The useless ones? Really? Try telling that to all the Heavyweight crew alum from the past 150 years who have been part of the oldest collegiate sports team in the nation. Or to the Yale 8 to that won the Olympics twice.

    Also, affirmative action for rich white people? I rowed for my public high school and I guarantee you can’t be on more financial aid than me. Do you know ANYone on the team? You’re ignorance is just embarrassing.

    Let’s also not pretend that your comparable to any athlete in talent or time management.

  • yaliemom

    Does it occur to anyone that being a student-athlete AND get accepted to Yale is MUCH harder than just being your average brain-iac? Open your minds, these kids have twice the time commitment and a much harder work load due to their practice schedules. I praise them and wish them the best. They have it much harder than the average “Yalie”

  • silliwin01

    Just because they’ve won championships doesn’t mean their sport in an interesting or prestigious one.

    As it were, the rowers I do know went to impoverished and dilapidated schools like Groton and Exeter, so I guess I was slightly off mark calling it a sport for rich white people.

    Laughably enough, I’m contemplating walking on to a team next year. Try to avoid personal insults directed at someone you don’t know.

  • dm

    Here is why recruiting is an important part of Ivy League sports, and why Levin’s decision to cut down on the number of recruits is more devastating than it would be at even a Big 10 school: there are no athletic scholarships. If you quit a team, and a good number of recruits do, you keep whatever scholarship you have from financial aid and you go about your business. From a moral perspective, this is a good thing. But, from a coach’s perspective, it means Ivy League coaches have to worry about something Big 10 coaches don’t: retention. So, coaches in the Ivies probably, in an ideal world, would over-recruit, to compensate for losing a player or two.

    There are also incredibly few schools now that do not recruit. Division III schools recruit, despite what you may have heard. While the process is not as formal as it is for D-I schools, I have friends who had their admissions backed by the coach, and now play for the teams. So, recruiting is a universal idea. It’s not going away.

    Having good sports teams helps the spirit of this school. Friday nights are better because of what goes down at Ingalls. Alumni come back for Harvard-Yale events, be it crew, hockey, squash, football, lacrosse, baseball, or underwater basketweaving.

    Some have made the argument that we should stop recruiting because we’re not that good. The truth is that a number of our teams our national powerhouses, some, like swimming, recently were powerhouses, and then, like all schools, we have some weak teams. The solution then is to recruit in a smarter fashion, recruit more, and build up all the programs.

    We have to stop thinking that the fact that we got into Yale means that we are important and that there are some people who maybe don’t deserve to be here, who could have kicked us out of a spot they did not deserve. Yale creates the environment that it wants to. They accepted you because they felt like you would add to it. It was not a validation of your worth. It was a validation of your potential. Athletes have shown, like actors, like people who raised a lot of money for non profits over the summer, like kids who spent a summer in Africa in a Kenyan slum, that they have the potential to accomplish things. That is why they deserve to be here.

  • futureleadersoftheworld

    I think that a huge part of what’s being missed is that sports breeds leaders, leaders of politics, business and every other facet of life. As an Ivy League university, Yale boasts creating leaders, but it should be the Yale athletic department boasting that. As I walk around campus, watching kids shuffle to class head down terrified of confrontation, it makes sense they will spend the rest of their natural born lives in labs or libraries, alone. Athletes here are able to converse and voice opinion without the fear of repercussion, athletes are able to command a room and respect. The world needs leaders, so when you look around Yale and sneer at the dumb jocks, just remember, those are the people that will actually make things happen rather than observe things happening.

  • silliwin01

    It’s risible to assert the only Yale students capable of being leaders are athletes.

  • dc2013

    what is ridiculous is that people think that athletes are lesser student than others who sing, act, or are in other student organizations

  • GSAS11

    Yale athletes clearly excel at competitive dacryorrhea.

  • Dutch101

    It’s also funny that non athletes commenting on here try to use huge words and immense vocabulary to make their points, so they sound smarter. Athletes are more down to earth.

  • TheHamIsInTheBack

    Q:What group of Engineering undergrads designed and built something which received awards from the likes of Popular Mechanics?


    A: One with 22% student athletes (more than the percentage of student athletes that make up the entire school)

    Nick Tsouris (holding the bike):
    Graduated Mech. Engineering
    2010 All-Ivy League Lacrosse Player
    Chosen 21st overall in the 2010 MLL Draft

    Aaron Fuchs:
    Graduated Mech. Engineering
    2010 All-Ivy Squash Player

    There are plenty of other examples. The simple truth is that if you don’t respect athletes, we’ll fly right by you in life. Simple as that.

  • TheBlueLion

    dm, you nailed it.

    silliwin01, because you don’t care for a sport also does not make it useless. And I hadn’t realized that you’ve met everyone on the crew and squash teams, I apologize. Also, keep us posted on your adventure as a walk on–that should be fun. (I assume you’ll be walking on to the football team, seeing as every other sport is useless).

  • silliwin01

    Nah, I haven’t met everyone on the teams. I do, however, know people on them (unlike you thought) and have a friend who walked on to heavyweight crew. My impressions are not based on prejudices, but on observations. Exceptions obviously exist, but they by no means negate the larger image.

    My point regarding the usefulness of sports was simply that the school pride argument only really applies for sports people care about, like football or hockey, and not for boring, unpopular sports like crew and fencing.

    Safe assumption, dawg. We need a new punter.

  • grumpyalum

    I’m confused why there’s this dichotomy about leaders only coming out of athletics. That’s kind of cute. Additionally, since when are athletics this haven of non-discrimination? *points to many high-profile incidents with fraternities that are dominated by male varsity athletes*

    Also, it’s not some sort of pride that athletes recruit each other – that’s not a sign of actual achievement, but that there are social networks in place. As someone who thinks most of the people who are in high-profile, athlete dominated jobs are pretty bad at them, this isn’t a sign of greatness or virtue.

    I’m not saying kick all the athletes out – though I think they dominate a particular part of Yale I wish didn’t exist when I was an undergrad: the Toads/frat nexus.

    Mind you, implicit in all the fights about athletes is an interesting observation that nobody seems to point as true: a lot of people don’t like the realm of the physical being promoted over the intellectual. Not just that, they think that the activities of the mind when put to use for issues that require the use of the mind are just much more important than any of the physical, art probably exempted. (Though I don’t much like physical art).

    It’s also, broadly, a large-scale cultural pushback: in a vast majority of the American public sphere, athletes are lionized and intellectuals are demonized. Trying to define Yale as a place that explicitly promotes the latter while minimizing the effect of the former can be considered a worthwhile thing.

    This isn’t to say that most people actually think athletes are stupid – I think there’s a difference between the major sports that we consider “mass-appeal” vs. others. When people mean “they don’t like athletes”, they seem to mean the football-hockey-lacrosse-basketball nexus that also seem to be in a lot of frats and send email lists encouraging people to take gusts.

  • BPC

    Since “11” deems himself to be an academician extraordinaire, I was a tad surprised – nay, SHOCKED – to see that such a scholarly sort is incapable of distinguishing between the word “they’re” and “their.” To wit (per “11”): “If athletes want to prove their as qualified as anyone else…”
    Better yet, his ardent acolyte, “Skeptic”, steps up in affirmation. TWO of “them” (vs. “us”) and yet neither one can handle elementary grammar? Tsk, tsk.
    Apparently, despite my four years of football at Yale, I retained enough of “English 101 For Remedial Learners” to immediately espy miscues that completely eluded at least some of my more learned Yale peers.
    BTW: trade-off is hyphenated, “11.” But hey, who’s counting, eh? Or would that be “Whose counting?” :-)

  • Yale12

    “what is ridiculous is that people think that athletes are lesser student than others who sing, act, or are in other student organizations”

    Why is that ridiculous? People who sing, act, or are in other student organizations were admitted to Yale because they met the University’s academic standards. Many athletes were allowed to bypass these standards because of their particular activity.

    Certainly it’s not true that all (or even most) athletes are lesser students, but those who were recruited with significantly lower GPAs and SATs than the rest of us are. I’ve been in classes with plenty of football and hockey players – they quite simply don’t seem to give a $hit about anything, and the attempts they do make to participate are ridiculously feeble. It doesn’t make for a fun section.

  • GuessWho

    That assumption is ridiculous because many non-athletes tend to take their dislike of a small contingent of athletes and assume that all 700 or so of Yale athletes fit that stereotype. That’s why this argument exists: those that don’t fit don’t like being told that less is expected of them. How do you think it feels when I proudly wear an item of clothing to class emblazoned with my team’s name and have to field the question, “You’re an athlete? And you’re in *this* class?!” I’ve been here for less than two semesters and have already heard this question several times. People are scared that an athlete may equal them in academic performance or possibly even surpass them. There’s no reason to have an inferiority complex like that: athlete or not, if you’re commenting on this right now you are one in less than 10% of applicants to Yale that got accepted. You’ve done what few could and shouldn’t need further validation of that fact.

  • nyc2013

    I’ve never commented on a YDN article before, but I feel moved to do so on this one. I’m not an athlete, but some of my closest friends at Yale are. The thing is, I don’t think of them as my “athlete friends”. I share academic interests, look for gut classes and suffer through finals with all of my friends here, yeah, even the “recruited athletes”. This false division of normie vs. athlete smart vs. stupid is ridiculous. Yeah, I’ve been in sections where hulking guys in Yale Football gear sit on Facebook the entire time, but I also have friends on the football team who were taking upper level physics classes and intense seminars while they were in season. By the same token, as a non-athlete who loves Toads and DKE late night, let’s stop pretending that it’s only athletes who have social skills and are going to be successful once they graduate. It’s time to stop generalizing, because the absurd dichotomies of athlete and non-athlete established on this thread are below the way we’re taught to think as Yale students. I’m sure everyone’s had negative experiences with athletes and non-athletes here, there are a lot of really annoying people at this school, but maybe we should break out of our respective bubbles for 5 minutes and try to get to know the people we’re anonymously bashing on here.

  • TwoWeeks

    I agree that the Yale Admissions process should be based purely on academic merit. Next year’s application will omit both ethnicity and gender, because we certainly should not be fulfilling these quotas either.

  • Dutch101

    I don’t understand how you can say networking isn’t an achievement. That’s why athletes can make it in the world easier. They work together as a team. They aren’t only about themselves. They help each other out.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Those gr8 networking ex-Ivy athletes leaders were ruling Wall St. in ’08. Thanks for the vigilance, guys!

    But seriously, folks … Most people who *applied* to Yale would have contributed, graduated and been positioned to succeed, but only the very best of these applicants were admitted.

    Should hundreds of spots in each Yale class be reserved for recruited athletes (or legacies or underrepresented minorities)? Remember, there are lots of Yalies who played sports in high school (and well), but were not part of the recruited-athlete admissions scheme. Their athletic prowess was taken into consideration at admissions time, but was given no more weight than their NGO founding, robot building, cancer fighting, poetry writing, etc.

    As for those who doubt my credentials: In addition to being a poker legend, I’m the reigning and undefeated ROTC champion of UNH; no one twirls an air rifle like I do. I only point out these personal accomplishment because (as all good athletes know) it’s just dumb dude to criticize peeps if you can’t do that stuff good too.

  • YaleAthletics

    I hope everyone speaking out against athletics at this school understands how absurd they sound. You are the reason people hate us. We have no sense of school pride or accomplishment, we are all too wrapped up in why we personally are better than everyone else. Many of you seem to think that the athletes “separate” themselves from the rest of the community, but in reality we are just not talking to you because you are too absorbed in your high school GPA and patting yourself on the back that we have no interest in ever associating ourselves with you. Try talking to an athlete some time, they’re actually pretty great people.

  • grumpyalum

    @YaleAthletics – It was only athletes that called me a faggot, told me to go back to North Korea (not sure why, since I’m not actually Korean) and generally found other ways to insult me. A non-athlete never did those things to me. Mind you, they were football players, so…maybe it’s just them. If I missed the “athletes are great people” thing, forgive me.

    I’ve also found this kind of absurdism that athletes seem to believe they are the ones that provide school pride. I know PLENTY of people who had school pride and didn’t give a damn about athletics or ever went to The Game.

  • YM

    Im a recruited athlete, and Im calling every nay-sayer on this post out. Ill say it in person if you want too, just give me a time and place.

    When you come out to our practices, deal with our mental and physical stressors, deal with some d-bag non athletes ragging on us for trying to take an easy class now and again and then looking incredulously at us when we take actual hard classes, deal with our own President saying that Yale needs to recruit fewer athletes, deal with the 4-6 credits per semester that WE TAKE TOO, deal with competitions or games every weekend, and then deal with the remainder of being a Yalie (such as studying, reading, being an active student and attempting to have a social life or job… aka all the stuff you have to do) THEN you can say we don’t deserve to be recruited. Also, I wont even go back in time and demand you keep your high grades and extra-curricular activities while doing this sport throughout high school. I went to nationals in my sport and still graduated top 5 in my class with over 500 hours of volunteering. Sorry Im not sorry I got in here through athletics.

  • Dutch101

    @grumpyalum No one cares about your personal stories. My friend next to me was called a faggot by a non athlete at one point this year. I guess all non athletes should be kicked out.

  • yaledog13

    This will always be a hot topic at Yale and any other Ivy league school. I am a recent graduate that was not only and athlete, capitan of my team. I had a 3.7 in high school and didn’t bust 1400 on my SAT. So my guess is I am one of the people that some would say should have never been admitted to Yale.
    The most important thing Yale provides is the greatest diversity of people, more than Princeton and Harvard alike (also schools I was admitted to). As a graduate when asked about my Yale experience, Toads, DKE or sports rarely make it into the conversation. The most important thing is the people! The different people you would not meet if you attended any other school in the world is what makes Yale great. Yale has quota’s for states and regions too, that’s right some of you got in because you were from Iowa or South Dakota, and that’s great! Focus on that. Spend your time meeting as many of these great people as possible. If you choose not to be friend an athlete so be it, but my guess is you are missing out. Missing out on a person that has had completely different experiences than you have ever had. I would have never guessed some of my best friends would be in a capella groups, or the orchestra, but that’s exactly what happened.
    Athletes, please don’t use getting up for lifts or late night road trips from Dartmouth as proof that we should be at Yale. That is what we signed up for, those are not badges of honor but yet normal pieces of being an athlete.
    Finally when you away from the friendly confines of Old Campus or your residential college you will realize people end up in their jobs, schools, and places for all kinds of reasons (legacies, sports, drama, grades) it is how these people use their time at Yale that counts. ANY student that only takes guts, and doesn’t take advantage of his/her time at Yale, those are the ones we should be looking to eliminate. Not only athletes.

  • RexMottram08

    Admissions should be based solely on academic merit?

    Because it takes a genius to get an A in a Women’s Studies class?

  • bigman4483

    There are a lot of comments here that are incredibly ignorant, and to be totally honest, as a student-athlete here, are somewhat insulting. Sorry I’m not sorry that I don’t spend my entire day studying, and instead spend a much smaller amount of time dedicated to my work. Sorry I’m not sorry that I don’t spend my time in a lab, researching and testing different things. Sorry that I’m not sorry that I don’t use large words like dacryorrhea (which Safari spell check doesn’t even recognize as a real word) to make it sound like I’m smart. Sorry I’m not sorry that I didn’t get an 800 on my Math SAT… or my Reading… or my Writing. Nor did I even get in the 700s. Sorry I’m not sorry I can handle being a Division-I athlete and the academics of the greatest institution in the world. Sorry that I’m not sorry that academics aren’t my life. I’m really sick of coming home to my dorm, after an afternoon film session, and seeing my roommate and a friend working on a problem set. And then, get dinner and go to Bass, and come home at 11… and see my roommate and a friend still working on a problem set. And when I wake up at 5:45am for practice the next morning, I see my roommate and his friend passed out in the common room, problem set still unfinished and in hand. Sorry I’m not sorry that I am not that kid.

    This is not to take away from any student at Yale. Everyone got in here for something, and we are part of a group that has brought together the most intelligent and outgoing young minds in the world. We all work hard in our own respective fields. But there comes to a point where Yale doesn’t need any more perfect SAT scores. Or High School Valedictorians. Or Salutatorians. Yale is incredibly diverse, and student-athletes add just to that diversity than any “normie.” Just talk to a student-athlete here. That is, if you can muster up the confidence to do so.

    By the way, an athlete from Yale with a 3.5 GPA against a student from Yale with a 3.5 GPA for a job? It’s the athlete all the way. Every employer will see Football, or Basketball, or Squash, or Crew, or Volleyball, and realize what an incredible time commitment it is. And realize what a lifetime of athletics will do for someone mentally. So please, stop with all the hatred toward the athletes. I don’t know if it’s jealousy that we “didn’t work as hard” as you did in high school (which is garbage, we worked just as hard if not harder), or if we’re “taking spots away from true Yalies.” Either way, just realize that the Ivy League sponsors the most sports out of any conference in America. And recruited athletes are not going to stop coming here any time soon.

    ..and stop blocking the walkways in Commons, no one should have to say “excuse me” all the time to people taking up too much space with the chairs, or wait five minutes for the confused kid in front of me to figure out where his next step will go.

  • Avery_Lanman

    Being a member of a sports team here at Yale I just want to say that I am extremely insulted by those who have such a negative outlook on athletes. We ALL worked hard in our own ways to get here and we are all here together as representatives of Yale University. We are a group that walked down similar paths in different shoes in order to get into this school.

    I might not be the most intelligent student on campus but I did have the passion and drive to use the cards that I was dealt in order to get into the best school possible. I killed myself day in and day out on the field WHILE maintaining a high GPA and I EARNED MY WAY INTO YALE. If you were dealt the same cards I am confident you would have done the same. I don’t see how non athletes can’t respect that. We are all Yalies and we should respect each other. After all, we are the future leaders of our country– its time to start acting like it.

  • Goldie08

    Many of the above comments are pure bigotry – hate-filled stereotypes about a specific campus subculture. It’s sickening, especially with “PC” the norm at Yale, that some can not respect their fellow students.

    Silliwin01’s comments reek of jealousy. I am sorry for you.

    Edit: I would like to mention that my use of “sickening” is not hyperbole – I was literally feeling sick by the time I got to the end of the comments. Disheartening. At this point, “ugh” is about all I can muster.

  • bigman4483

    “I might not be the most intelligent student on campus but I did have the passion and drive to use the cards that I was dealt in order to get into the best school possible. I killed myself day in and day out on the field WHILE maintaining a high GPA and I EARNED MY WAY INTO YALE. If you were dealt the same cards I am confident you would have done the same. I don’t see how non athletes can’t respect that. We are all Yalies and we should respect each other. After all, we are the future leaders of our country– its time to start acting like it.”

    couldn’t agree more.

  • dmv1011

    As a Yale athlete, it’s pretty disappointing to see some of the comments on here. We’re your classmates, your suite-mates, even your roommates. I can’t say that I’m the most brilliant student, or even the most brilliant student-athlete at Yale…the fact that I had to say “even” is almost insulting to me. This culture of looking down on athletes, the idea that they are somehow inferior to non-athletes is just nonsense.

    I’ve found that most people here don’t care too much either way, but I feel sorry for those who do. I’d tell you that you can’t do what we do, but you all already know that. You’re not #1 in the nation like the hockey team, or women’s crew–you have no storied history like football or rowing; you probably don’t even have the discipline or talent to compete at the level that we do in any of our sports.

    The difference is that we don’t tell you, we don’t want, or care to. We respect you for whatever you do, whether it’s a cappella (athletes do that, too), acting, or any number of the other extracurriculars here at Yale. There’s not a culture of athletes looking down upon non-athletes, and that’s because we’re loving the things we’re doing here. It’s the kids that are over-worked, over-stressed, and overly-competitive (academically) who are the most outspoken of the anti-athletes.

    My advice to you is this: take an afternoon off, drink a beer, and enjoy life a little bit more

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Gosh. No one’s blaming current Yale athletes for taking the opportunities presented to them. Everyone knows that admission to Yale is worth more than a scholarship to Quinnipiac. You chose correctly, athletes, and we all would have done the same.

    And most would agree that admission to an elite university should not be based solely on academic merit (nor is it, except in all other countries of the world).

    The question is whether or not recruited athletes should be admitted to Yale *under an entirely different scheme* than the rest of the student population. Is that healthy for Yale moving forward? Levin, as President, has been asking himself these questions, as have many others involved in academia at various levels over the last couple of decades. Much has been written. The consensus is that there’s an ever-widening performance gap between recruited athletes and the rest of the Ivy population. Do we want to push this separation further in an attempt to compete with Stanford in football and Duke in basketball? Or do Ivy administrators decide to move in the other direction? (Forces are at work; none of this is organic.)

    Perhaps the Ivies and other elite liberal arts schools should field varsity teams solely from their normal student population. Why not? Does Yale really need 100 football players and a dozen paid coaches? More than a few of those players would have gotten into Yale anyway (or, in fact, did) and they would make a great core for our team and would still be attractive candidates for the finance industry. Keep two or three paid coaches. True, gone will be the days of national rankings in hockey or … well … in hockey, but we’d adjust. We’d probably still have some top athletes in this sport or that and could still strive to win conference championships (no offense, guys, but that’s generally the goal for Yale athletics right now, isn’t it?).

    There’s no reason that a group of Presidents couldn’t get together and decide — as they did on the issue of athletic scholarships — that the Ivies should concentrate on academic excellence.

  • Dutch101

    athletics would be a joke if you only let non athletes play. No football team in the world has two coaches. If you like how the other countries’ admit people, we have no problem with you going to a school there and leaving here. We will never be able to compete with Stanford in football or Duke in basketball because it is easier to get into those schools because of scholarships. There are none here. Athletics is a part of college. It is saddening that you think you are that much better than a recruited athlete.

  • Straight_Ignant

    Why would we not want to compete at the highest level of academic AND athletic competition? Stanford serves as a perfect example of this. They compete at the highest level of competition in all sports, and are at the top of the charts in the academic world as well.

    What harm can be done by expanding the student-athlete population? Specifically in football, Yale is the birthplace of the game. Part of the reason Yale is even on the map as a school is due DIRECTLY to football. Legends played here, coached here, and created the game. Ever since 1982 when the Ivy League decided to become part of the FCS rather than becoming part of the FBS, football and attendance at games have been steadily declining. Why in the world would we not want to compete with the big boys in the country? It is not only a badge of pride, but it would bring in huge amounts of revenue to admit more of the “top” students that most of you somehow believe you are part of.

    More students, expanded programs, increased revenue, more national prominence, more recognition, television contracts, student and fan entertainment. I really don’t understand what is so controversial about this. It sounds like there is only upside to expanding sports.

    And the blame of this falls almost completely on President Levin. The power in this scenario falls on the presidents and AD’s of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. We hold the power, and both Harvard and Princeton’s presidents are willing to expand at least at some rate. Levin is not. Just because he was picked last in dodgeball as a child, (like most of the anti-athlete demographic in this forum) doesn’t give him the right to disgrace the history and tradition of Yale athletics and the Ivy League as an athletic conference.

    Yale athletics need to return to their origins of prominence. It starts with Levin.

  • Dutch101

    Plus isn’t it embarrassing if I’m an athlete and beat a non athlete on a test? I seem to be doing that a lot. I guess everyone who scores under me shouldn’t be allowed to be here either because they aren’t the direction Yale wants to go. This is disheartening.

  • Yale12

    “Im a recruited athlete, and Im calling every nay-sayer on this post out. Ill say it in person if you want too, just give me a time and place.”

    And yet you don’t know the difference between “to” and “too.”

    How, exactly, are you going to “call us out?”

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Okay, I’m convinced. Yale needs more athletes and lower academic standards. Let’s go for it. Make Yale great again.

  • Dutch101

    Glad you admitted it @FreddyHoneychurch. Now we can be like Stanford

  • Straight_Ignant

    “Okay, I’m convinced. Yale needs more athletes and lower academic standards. Let’s go for it. Make Yale great again.”

    Yale wouldn’t be lowering its academic standards. It would be introducing more lower band students, while at the same time being able to attract and admit more higher band students. It would bring in people from every range of aptitude. Expansion, not exception.

  • Straight_Ignant


    Because you run out of material that is actually substantial for argument, you revert to a typing error to try to make yourself sound academically superior. Figure it out. You aren’t.

  • Goldie08

    @ Yale12 – I assume he will be calling people like you “out” as bigots and petty (to vs. too on an online comment board – petty). Here’s an idea: sign your name. Take up his/her offer to meet in person. I’ll wager the athletes here would be more willing to come out from behind their online monikers and stand by their opinions than non-athletes. Sign your name and show your peers what a hateful person you are.

    Alex Goldsmith, MC ’08

  • dmv1011

    @ YaleAthletics, Goldie08

    Respect to both of you for making some great points. It’s just lame to see these posts when athletes compete for their school, and all we really want to do is promote Yale and make it look awesome. Why is that such a bad thing?

    On a side note, why has nobody mentioned the “likely letters” that are going out to ~80 of next year’s incoming science students? Isn’t that recruiting for academics? Isn’t that giving prospective science majors an unfair advantage?

    And lastly @ Yale12, how low of you too (did you catch that?) call out someone’s grammatical error on a thread like this.

  • thinkaboutit

    Just so you guys know, football recruiting works on a band system (not going to speak for other sports, because I don’t know definitely, but surely recruiting for other sports is similar). There are 4 bands, and the numbers for what bands are what is determined by a formula that combines SAT score and high school GPA.


    Here’s the link to an explanation of what the band system is. Check it out. See where you’d fall, and if you are not on the high band (please keep in mind that Yale’s high band is higher than the high band they describe. I was on the 3rd band, most attributed to my small high school class size), then please back off this argument, because there are athletes here that are smarter than you.

  • GuessWho

    From what I’ve been told, a little bit more than SAT scores and rank goes into the calculation of an AI. But in other sports, the *minimum* average recruit AI (for the allotted number of recruits in a certain sport) is around a 215. However, many sports have a higher average than this: closer to the non-athlete average of 230 or so. They don’t use bands and at Yale all recruits need to pass admissions with (at least) a 200 before they can even come on a trip.

  • YM

    Yo, Yale12

    Re-read the sentence.

    “Im a recruited athlete, and Im calling every nay-sayer on this post out. Ill say it in person if you want too, just give me a time and place.”

    Too is a synonymous statement for “AS WELL”

    So, rewrite: basically, its saying Ill say it to you in person AS WELL AS call you out online, give me a time and place.

    If I wanted to say what you implied I was trying to say, I would have said “Ill say it in person if you want ME TO..

    Still think I dont know the difference? Grammatically correct or not, try taking me up on my offer instead of hiding behind the shield of the internet.

    Edit: To GuessWho, yea we as recruits have to pass an AI test before we are allowed to come on a visit, and we have to take the SAT or ACT and gain a minimum score. We actually have academic standards to get recruited.. they dont just fly us out here on Yale’s dime for fun.

  • exwalkon

    The strongest argument I see in favor formalized athletic recruiting is that it ensures that a process that is going to happen anyway (happens informally in DIII, for example) is conducted according to a set of formal rules/guidelines (making things as fair as possible for recruits and non-recruits alike).

    Maybe instead of getting rid of formalized athletic recruiting, we should formalize the other kinds of non-academic recruiting (to which people have been appealing to justify athletic recruitment). Perhaps there should be AI bands for violinists and actors, and the YSO and the theater studies department should be allotted set numbers of slots.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I played on a Yale team, and I deeply respected my teammates both as athletes and as scholars. I would like to see Yale athletics flourish. That said, I am troubled by the ways in which athletic recruiting is much more institutionalized/formalized than other hooks. Defenders of formal athletic recruiting: would you be in favor of formalizing other hooks?

  • silliwin01

    Goldie, of course I’m jealous. I had to stress the college admissions process, whereas recruited athletes did not. It understandable and very natural, I would say, given that my choices were basically my state university (which isn’t very good) or Yale and Princeton, once affordability was factored in. I’m not capable of understanding what it is like to be a D-I athletes, and concordantly, you are unable to understand the stress associated with the regular college admissions process.

    Stanford competes in the top level of athletes, but they sacrifice their academics more to do so. This was a topic of mine for English last year – Stanford’s average SAT for athletes (I think it was FB and basketball together) is 1150 CR and Math, compared to the 1530 that is the student body average as a whole. You can’t be competitive in FBS football without offering scholarships and accepting student’s far beneath the academic standards for a top flight university – the Ivy League made a conscious decision to retain their academic integrity/pretentious ideals over sustaining national relevance in football.

  • Dutch101

    How can you say recruited athletes have no stress when it comes to the college process? Making the choice is not easy. I know from me and everyone else I have talked to that recruiting was probably one of the hardest things they’ve had to go through. I’m sure you’ve never had coaches coming left and right trying to get you to come to their school. It’s not easy at all making the right choice. Also you build relationships with all the coaches, so its hard to turn all the schools down creating a lot of stress because you don’t want anyone to get hurt. I guess I just have a problem with the generalization saying recruited athletes don’t have stress about the college admission’s process.

  • YM

    Also, consider the fact that some of us (at least I did) applied to some universities without any recruiting, and had to deal with the throngs of being an applicant just as you did.

    Yale in specific, by the way, is never guaranteed. Like the saying goes, “Its not over till its over”… it is possible that you will not get accepted, and I will concede that it is a smaller chance when you are recruited versus a regular applicant, but there is still a stress factor.

    Continuing with what Dutch101 said about coaches too: Its true, when you have umpteen coaches telling all the reasons why you should go to x university, it can be stressful. You want to make everyone happy, and trust me its harder to turn down a schools website than a schools coach if you decide you dont want to go there.

  • wellpreserved

    Silliwin01 again speaks out of ignorance, preconceived “emotional” positions, and lacking in factual merit whatsoever.

    The stress and work involved in the recruiting and application process for recruited athletes is every bit as stressful as the “normal” route. His/her preconceived notions of how being a recruited athlete makes this “easier” again is based on lack of information, knowledge, and most of all, lack of any type of definable “PERSONAL EXPERIENCE” to base his/her opinion on. In other words, a position of “IGNORANCE”

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Everyone works hard and has to “deal with the throngs of being an applicant.” That’s not the point. What is Yale’s mission as a university in the twenty-first century? How does it respond to recent reports/fears about our nation’s increasing global mediocrity? I’ve already conceded that beefing up the Athletics Department is probably the best step, but even if you disagree with me (and dare to say it to my face!), you’ll surely concur that trading stories about throngy application processes has nothing to do with anything.

  • silliwin01

    You had to worry about making a choice and maybe slightly worry about being accepted if you are a marginal applicant. I had to worry about making a perfect application, about the many different possibilities that might occur in regards to acceptances, and then worry about making the decision. You don’t understand what it is like to go through the process with absolutely no certainty, so please don’t pretend like you do. It’s insulting to me and frankly calls into question your claims of deserving to be Yale students academically.

  • Straight_Ignant

    Silliwin, I don’t think that you realize that many recruited athletes don’t go to the school of their dreams just because they play a sport. As a recruited athlete, you are given a set of schools that are interested in you, and the possibility of being recruited by the school that you truly want to attend pre-admissions are slim in most cases. There isn’t certainty until the end of the recruiting process. Athletes have to deal with the fact that their dream school may not want them to come, and because we are all going to follow the money in this day and age, recruits follow the scholarship offers.

    Dealing with coaches, being pulled out of class daily to meet with them, and having to break bonds that you have built on a personal level with people is not stress-free. We have a higher chance to get in to an ivy-league school because of the level of competition, whereas you may have the better chance of getting into (for example) UC Berkeley due to the chances we aren’t recruited there.

    The process is stressful for both parties, but I can see how many people who haven’t gone through it on the recruiting side wouldn’t realize the difficulties assosciated with it.

    But regardless, this isn’t the point of this thread.

  • xfxjuice

    @silliwin01- Apparently you know very little, if anything, about the athletic recruiting process. The most sought after recruits can be flown out at the school’s expense to visit for a weekend, which means that very many recruits spend several weekends at different colleges touring to see if it is where they would like to end up. It just so happens, however, that these weekends are pre-determined, which means that many recruits are flying around the country every weekend for a month, like I did. I flew from the west coast to New England every weekend in four consecutive weeks, and this not only took a huge toll on my first semester senior grades, but also resulted in physical and mental exhaustion.

    For the month I October, I was scrambling to find enough time to get all of my work done on airplanes, in different dorm rooms at different colleges, and in airports, not to mention I had very little sleep. This was all happening as I was trying to remain conscious enough to make an informed decision about which college I would love to attend. To compound these issues further, the nature of the Ivy League recruiting process is that nothing is ever certain until you have that acceptance, or ‘likely’ letter in hand. I had to write kick-ass essays just like you, as well as pick teachers who would write amazing recommendation letters. And after all of this was done, I waited. I knew the coaches were interested in me, and I was in love with Yale, but it was unknown whether or not that love was requited. My family and friends knew Yale expressed interest, which made my stress level that much higher. I did not want to disappoint them if I was rejected after getting mine and their hopes up.

    What is insulting to ME is that you really have no idea how stressful the entire process is, yet make assumptions that what you went through was way more difficult. One of the main differences is that if you didn’t get in to Yale, you would have been just another rejection, like ~23,000 other people, yet if you were truly a competitive applicant, you would have ended up somewhere great anyways. So, I fail to see why you still hold resentment over athletes when you clearly don’t know anything about them, and you already got into Yale! It’s not like any of these incredibly talented and capable athletes took your spot anyways, so chill.

  • silliwin01

    You are telling me that if you are recruited by the coach and have a good application, there is doubt in your acceptance? You might not know for sure until your receive your likely letter, but you can’t honestly be saying the same level of uncertainty exists before this happens as it does with a regular applicant.

    If you’d bothered to read earlier, you’d note I said that my affordable college options were Yale, Princeton, and my not very good state university. I got into Dartmouth and Northwestern, but neither of them gave me enough money to attend. I also find it insulting you make assumptions about my family’s financial situation despite the fact you clearly know nothing about it.

    Seriously, I don’t think this is that complicated. You had it easier in gaining admissions than I did, and you now have it harder because of athletic commitments.

  • Dutch101

    @silliwin01 we’re both at Yale so relax. Maybe go study. That’s what got you here.

  • YaleAthlete

    @silliwin01, @Dutch101, @FreddyHoneyChurch, etc…

    Please listen: http://www.totallyfuzzy.net/ourtube/eagles/get-over-it-live-video_0756746da.html

    I personally think it’s a shame that President Levin has decreased the percentage of allowable recruits at Yale. But stop bitching about your personal journey to Yale, and what you had to go through to get here. I hope you are all Freshmen for that “traumatic experience” of college applications to still be lingering in your mind. It’s going to be hard to move on from Yale if you haven’t even moved on from the admissions process yet.

  • Straight_Ignant

    Wasn’t a shot at your financial situation, it was a shot at the economy. I followed to money, so even If I were accepted to a school like Cal on academic merit, I wouldn’t play there because the money wouldn’t be there.

  • Exonian

    But going along with the prevailing notion that differentiates “student” from “athlete”, I fail to see how a somewhat intelligent recruited athlete is more impressive than a somewhat athletic intelligent student. And yet, Yale admits candidates who are not at the top of their field (athletes), while frequently turning away those who are (students).

  • Straight_Ignant

    Its not the matter that its more impressive, its the matter that in order to compete with other schools, Yale has to admit the top athletes, because the other schools do the same thing.

  • squash

    I am a “student” and an “athlete”, just like several hundred others here at Yale. I’m fortunate that I don’t have the same kind of entitlement issues as many of the “students” here because personally I don’t think anybody deserves to go here. I can respect you for whatever it is you do, but I can’t respect anybody for sneering at fellow Yalies. We’re lucky. And I’m lucky that I don’t give a **** what you think. I’m particularly disappointed in you, “Exonian”. I happen to have gone to your school and I thought we had been taught to be openminded and respectful while trying to avoid self-aggrandizing.

  • Exonian

    The difference between you, squash, and say, the average yale football player, is that you are smart.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Well, this has been an unusually pointless debate. I’d give these responses a C+. Congrats!, you’re still eligible to play next season.

  • bigman4483

    @silliwin01 – Get down off your pretentious high horse already. I practically know all about your application process, and to be honest, there are 1200 students admitted here a year that go through the same thing. You’re not that special. By the way, in case you want to know my story considering it seems to be a theme, I applied to 11 schools before I was contacted for football. I think there was a little stress in that, but I’m not really sure, because I left that behind me when I grew up and decided to be a college student.

    @Exonian – Your response to “squash”‘s post, which pointed out the fact that we are supposedly taught to be openminded and respectful, is permeated with the exact mentality that needs to be exonerated from this university. People need to take a step back and realize how smart everyone here actually is. It may not seem that way to you, and yes, there are a handful of athletes that don’t do all the work they should. However, there are plenty of “normies” that do the same exact thing. I know and could name handfuls of athletes who do a better job as a student here than most of the normies do.

    When Yale called and offered me a chance to play football here, I cannot describe how happy I was. Actually, it was probably much like looking up your application online, and seeing Handsome Dan welcome you to a spot in the incoming freshmen class. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and you take it when it knocks on your front door. I used my two greatest strengths, academics and athletics, to help me get into the greatest university in the world. Tell me that you would not have done the same given the chance.

  • bigman4483

    P.S. @ FreddyHoneyChurch- there is no minimum GPA requirement here. You stay in good academic standing, you play. Know what you’re talking about before you talk about it.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Yes, there *is* a certain “mentality that needs to be exonerated from this university” and it’s exactly *that one*. This is our point, tied up with a bow on it.

  • bigman4483

    The general mentality of regular students that they are so much better than the student athletes that they attend class with? Glad you see our side here.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    The normies’ “mentality” (= their grasp of the facts) is that hundreds of students with measurably lower academic credentials were admitted to Yale University solely because they play sports, and that many of these athletes play at a level that’s well below that of athletes attending 100+ other universities.

    The normies wonder if this is good for Yale. So does Levin. So do all of those who run all of the elite universities in the US. Most are advocates of physical fitness and supporters of young men and women playing games and sports, but many wonder if the larger mission of higher education is being harmed by the increasingly large gap between the academic abilities of recruited athletes and the rest of the student population. How hard is it to see that these are a perfectly reasonable concerns?

    Remember that the entire rest of the planet finds it utterly bizarre that the US links sport-playing and university-going at all! I know that all foreigners are effete communists, but they *are* approaching 7 billion strong …

  • whatwhat

    Athletes: Should Yale start having guaranteed spots for students that are outstanding in non-athletic extracurricular activities?

    As exwalton said earlier, “the conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra does not get 5 guaranteed admissions spots for any 5 orchestral musicians of his choosing who meet basic academic standards (including one or more “low band” recruits whose academic credentials are below average within Yale’s pool). The Yale Debate Association does not get to tell the admissions office which 3 academically qualified public speakers of its choosing should get a likely letter. Heck, even the chair of Chemistry department cannot automatically “yes” the application of even 1 ISEF-level high school chemist. Defend athletic recruiting if you like, but don’t pretend it’s like other extracurricular (or curricular) hooks. It’s not.”

    That said, I do think that a strong athletics program is beneficial to the university.

  • bigman4483

    Grasp of the facts? I run into so many normies every day that don’t have a single bit of common sense but are here because they are simply book smart. Do we really need more people like that here?

    While I understand your concerns, I feel like doing away with recruiting, or varsity sports in general as you seem to be implying, is somewhat of an overreaction to whats actually happening. Going by @thinkaboutit’s post about the band system, let’s see what number of recruited Yalies are truly that far below the academic ability of the rest of the student population.

    Every year, the football team gets the opportunity to bring in approximately 30 recruits. It is many times less than this. However, going on the 30-recruit model, 21 of these recruits fall into the medium & high bands, within the AI range of (considering that Yale’s bands are much higher than the ones listed on the website), about 195-230. I would say that these students are most definitely academically able to handle Yale’s workload and perform well in the classroom. In fact, I’m in that range and I’m doing just fine. This leaves 9 recruits on the low and low-low bands per year. Undoubtedly, these students are below the standards Yale holds to normal applicants.

    This year’s freshmen class is approximately 1200 students. According to President Levin, 13% of the incoming class is reserved for recruited athletes. 13% of 1200 is 156. Assuming that every sport that recruits follows the same system football does (which surely is not true, and I’d love to know what recruiting is like for other sports), then a tenth of that 156 is below the academic standards held to normal applicants. That’s 15 or 16 a year. That’s 60 total students at Yale that are below the academic standards normal students are held to. That’s 1.13% of the Yale population.

    Throw away recruiting for 1.13%? That seems to be a bit of an overreaction. Nothing in the history of the world has been done for that small a minority of a population. I don’t think 60 more normies here would help out Yale’s academic reputation more than 60 athletes annually help out the sports team that bleed blue and white. By the way, have you noticed how successful Yale sports have been this year? Football took 2nd place in the Ivy League, while Hockey, Squash, and Crew are annually some of the best teams in the nation. And let’s see how well do in the spring too, eh?

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    A strong athletics program at Yale is certainly beneficial to Yale athletes and to local hockey fans, but apart from those two groups, I’m not sure who would really miss it.

    And what exactly does “strong” mean in this context? Yale could field teams from normally admitted students. Their fellow athletes, friends and family would support them, as would some other sports fans from Yale and New Haven. Sure, the athletes wouldn’t generally be world-class (some exceptions, of course), the games wouldn’t be played at the highest level in the country, and Yale wouldn’t be a place that attracts aspiring professional athletes. So basically, it would look a lot like it does now, but with more even academic standards. If the other Ivies (and the like) made the same changes, no one in the wider sports world would notice that anything had changed.

  • cwakefield2011

    The majority of these comments are incredibly embarrassing to us all. On the other hand, what’s hilarious about this debate is that my equally intelligent friends at non-Ivies tend to think that EVERYBODY here is giant nerd; they don’t care if you’re an athlete, a musician, a minority (oh yeah….we don’t deserve to be here either right?) or some other “type” of Yalie. Face it non-athletes, not all jocks are the dumb jerks that your insecurities would have you believe. And athletes, not all “normies” are these insecure chumps who’ve been bravely commenting on this article behind anonymous screen names.We’ve all met smart and dumb non-athletes AND athletes at Yale. Let’s give this tired debate a rest.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    bigman4483’s back-of-the-napkin calculations just don’t square with the well-respected and well-researched studies that have appeared recent years, most notably the work of J. L. Schulman, W. A. Bowman, and S. A. Levin.

    Also, there’s no reason a Yale football squad couldn’t finish top of the Ivies *without* recruited athletes, provided that all Ivies dropped their current recruited-athlete admissions scheme.

    For perspective, Yale’s current football team is about the 150th best university team in the country; this is not intended as an insult. Squash and crew likely would maintain some national profile even without a separate admissions process for athletes. Hockey, it must be admitted, would suffer greatly in national terms, but would still aspire to win the Ivy League Championship (ECAC would crumble).

    You’re correct, cwakefield2011, that this starts to look like a tired debate when goofy commenters moan about teenage identity issues. But make no doubt about it: it’s *very much* worth debating the future of the most outstanding educational institutions in the world.

  • Dutch101

    @FreddyHoneychurch…honestly just be quiet. This debate is pointless and you sound cocky and your points are subpar. Enjoy Yale the way it is. It’s a great place. If you have such a problem with this, try to get it change.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    When writing in complete sentences starts to strike the Yale athlete as a cocky and pointless maneuver, then the debate is all but won!

  • Dutch101

    Go celebrate tonight.

  • Straight_Ignant

    Maybe instead of removing the student athlete population, we should remove ignorant ass holes like Honeychurch to make this place bearable for the rest of the community.

    Just a thought.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Foreclosing debate with ad hominem invective: Go Bulldogs!

  • TheBlueLion

    @Silliwin01: Do not start to complain about the college admission process. As someone who gave a recruitment a shot, was unsuccessful, and then applied the “regular way” to gain admission, they are both equally stressful. Only the literal best athletes in the nation feel less angst that most in the admission process, but the same could be true of the nation’s top violinist.

    To answer someone’s question about formalizing other types of recruiting, why not? Yale might realize that it truly elevates the quality of a group, club, or sport.

    To take personal shots at athletes because one does not approve of their supposed “lifestyle” (DKE/Toads) is probably the worst argument I have heard yet. I don’t particularly affiliate myself with hardcore hipsters or ultra-preps, but that makes them no less worthy of admission to this great university.

    Also, everyone, stop correcting each other’s grammar. It makes me want to vomit and is exactly why some people hold a negative view Yalie’s in general.

    In order to say that anyone doesn’t “deserve” admission is to put oneself above another. Can we just stop ranking and judging each other on “intelligence” or any other criteria? It’s sad that people still feel the need to do so AFTER everyone was selected by the admissions committee. Frankly, I don’t think anyone actually “deserves” to be here. Hell, I still don’t know why I got in. Admission to Yale University is not a recognition of accomplishment, but instead a weight of responsibility. We owe it to the those applicants who did not get in–to the rest of world–to make the Yale experience our own and make a damn difference after graduating. If you do it by excelling in high level courses, or if you do it by learning discipline and teamwork from a varsity sport, so be it. Stop bringing each other down, appreciate one another’s talents and virtues, and accept them as your peers.

    Go Bulldogs.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Ugh. Times a million.

  • Straight_Ignant

    Like @TheBlueLion

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