In his recent column (“Yale Should Revoke Special Admissions for Athletes,” 1/30), Jacob Remes ’02 claims that special privileges for athletes built into the admissions process sacrifice the applications of more qualified students. I am glad that Remes claims to be such a champion of gender, racial and economic diversity.
But what does it mean to be more qualified? Is someone only qualified to attend Yale if he scored above 1460 on his SATs, carries at least a 3.9 unweighted GPA, and has performed a minimum 70 hours of community service? Or are there other qualities that deem one worthy?
A recruited athlete’s application should be and is handled differently from that of a normal student. Remes claims these athletes should not be at Yale if they cannot meet the same standards as other applicants. Though he never explains what these standards are, one can only assume he means SAT scores and GPA.
To be an athletic recruit at a Division I NCAA school like Yale requires an enormous commitment to one’s sport throughout high school, as well as a high intellectual curiosity. While recruited athletes’ test scores and grades may be lower then the rest of their class, all of Yale’s athletes are still some of the brightest in the nation. Not only must a Yale athlete excel academically, he must also spend innumerable hours developing the skills and fitness level to compete at the highest level.
It requires extraordinary dedication, passion, hard work and talent in both scholastically and physically competitive environments.
In my experience, working toward becoming a competitive Division I athlete has entailed juggling a full class schedule and at least four quality hours of homework with three hours or more of training time, a minimum eight hours sleep, and even an extra shower seven days a week.
Having this noteworthy lifestyle taken into account during the admission process hardly seems like a situation of “special privilege” as much as it does one of “due respect.” So while it is true that cramming five hours in high school for the AP Biology test is a drag, it’s even more of a drag after hitting the pool for the second practice of the day, running hard for 10 miles, or hanging on to survive a weight circuit, ball drills, and court sprints all afternoon.
Remes also claims that Yale athletes are given “special breaks” — he cites their access to dean’s excuses when schoolwork conflicts with competitions. By calling this policy a “privilege of athletics,” he makes it sound as though we are all back in junior high, when it was cool to skip school. If I ever considered it a privilege to not have to attend classes, I would have skipped Yale altogether and gotten myself a sugar daddy in Key West.
Why would I cough up $35,000 a year for the opportunity to not attend the classes I am paying for? Having to miss class with a dean’s excuse is a shortcoming of athletics, not a perk.
All in all, some recruited athletes may not have the combined SAT score and GPA to place them into the top 1 or 2 percent of the nation, but they still deserve special notice for having achieved a high level of merit in two realms, the academic and athletic. This makes his or her application as “qualified” as that of non-recruited athletes.
With the intention of adding to the greatness of the Yale community, the 1350, 3.7 applicant who has toiled three hours every day in the pool since age 10 to become an All-American is as deserving of a spot at Yale as the 1560, 4.0 class president.
JC Reindl is a junior in Berkeley College. He is a member of the track and cross country teams.