Author Topic: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions  (Read 2010 times)

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2018, 03:40:16 pm »
Basic thing to keep in mind: most DIII athletic departments have about the same number of student-athletes involved. The difference in the percentages is completely based on the size of the schools. Obviously, NYU is going to have a smaller percentage involved than Hood because the size of NYU is huge compared to Hood. That's why percentage can't tell the entire story. Sure, the number of sports and the size of those sports (i.e. lacrosse and football) has a factor as well, but the overall undergraduate size of a school is a major factor. NESCACs seem like they have a huge number of student-athletes, but the schools aren't that big in the first place. By default, they are going to have a higher percentage.
Dave, can you comment on the following type of thing?

I'm told by reliable sources that, for reasons related to Title IX, some D3 schools are examined critically for having higher percentages of men than women involved in intercollegiate sports. This is apparently true even at schools that don't have American football. Assuming that is true, then what are those schools supposed to do about it? Nationally, something like 56% of college & university students are women, according to this: http://www.d3boards.com/index.php?action=post;quote=1893223;topic=8893.0. That number might include graduate students; I believe the undergraduate number for women is closer to 60%. So, if you're a school that does not intentionally try to enroll a population of 50/50, as some small colleges do,--a policy that (it seems to me, does by itself suggest that it's easier for men than for women to enroll, given the overall numbers of students actually attending college--then what do you do to increase the % of women in sports? Start denying admission to qualified women who aren't athletes? Close down one or two male sports, simply because the college enrolls more women than men, and therefore men will be a higher % of the athletes?

You see where this is going. If you have any comments, Dave, I'm all ears.

I'd have to read through your thoughts in more detail - not trying to get things done around the house, but the Title IX stuff is not the same as overall percentage.

The basics of Title IX worth in both directions to benefit men or women. It was created with women in mind, but crafted to be fair to both sexes. I, for example, call myself a Title IX admin to my alma mater. I don't know if I could have gotten in ten years later with the same credentials, but I was a man on a campus that was only ten years (give or take) into transitioning from an all-womens college and I was an athlete. Both of those factors maybe got me admission when normally it may not have happened. Now, that also happened as the college was trying to expand it's enrollment numbers, so there were a lot of factors involved.

The basics are, athletics have to reflect the overall, undergraduate, population. If 60% of the population is female, then that has to be seen, roughly, in the athletics department. It isn't based on TEAMS, it is based on NUMBERS. That is why it is sometimes hard to field a football program (or start one), because it has to be offset on the women's side by a most likely two or more teams (depending on those squads). I know when Stevenson added football, they had to add Women's Ice Hockey to help offset. They later added Women's Beach Volleyball (there were other factors, but Title IX helped drive it).

As the population shifts, athletics has to be aware of that. If the number of student-athletes increases on teams, that will help that equation as I understand it. However, the reason some schools cut programs is because of Title IX as well. When it comes to finances, athletic departments find themselves in a bind, so they have to adjust accordingly. That's why sometimes we see more men's programs cut than the women's. However, look at the numbers. The two men's programs may equal the one woman's program or at least fit the population percentages seen in the general population.

Now ... it isn't perfect and it is something that I am constantly trying to understand more. When Hartwick decided to bring D1 soccer back into D3, they cut completely women's water polo. As part of the grand-father clause to keep a D1 program like Hartwick had with men's soccer, the Title IX aspect was they had to have a women's program of similar numbers also in D1 (notice, I did not say reflecting the campus, but reflecting the program already existing; you didn't see two women's programs added at women-heavy schools). Hartwick created water polo. However, they cut it altogether which perplexed me because I figured the Title IX numbers may indicate they are now out of wack. I don't know the answer there, but there may be parts going on that I don't fully grasp about the details of Title IX in that particular case.

As for admissions standards, I think it might be interesting if schools are truly admitting with a slant towards their athletics department. I'll admit, I could see it happening. It is FAR easier to try and maintain the status quo and not get into a constant, "oh crap, our Title IX numbers are off" on a year basis than it is to just maintain the percentages. To be blunt, I don't think it is a big deal. Schools have always wanted a particular make-up of their students and while most would like to get to 50/50, I'm realistic enough to know my alma mater may feel it's better for them to be 60/40 female (I'm guessing at the number, I just know it isn't 50/50). That means admissions may allow more women in than men. Okay. That's their choice.

I think where it might go too far, and someone may have a case, is if the percentage is WAY out of wack in favor of men (I don't think out of wack favoring women would get very far). If a school somehow had athletics at say 70/30 and was purposely not admitting women so they could (a) avoid adding women's programs or (b) avoid eliminating men's programs, then I think there could be something there. It may be very hard to prove that conspiracy, but I think there could be an argument made.

That said, I am not one to buy into someone crying wolf. In their eyes, they see more men's programs than women's, they see a population favoring men, and they see an admission numbers in the same vein. They automatically think this is purposeful to try and hurt women and cry wolf about it. They may (probably) don't have all the facts. Also, they may not understand the main goals of the school in general - there are many, many factors when it comes to how a school is made up sexually, ethnically, racially, etc., etc., etc.

Does any of that make sense. Does any of that get at what you are asking? Again, that's a gut shot on what you wrote. I may have to dive in deeper to what you are saying to better answer that.
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Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2018, 03:42:52 pm »
While there is an obvious correlation with smaller enrollment = greater % of athletes, this also correlates with the impact of athletics and athletes on the feel of the school.....from barely a blip at Chicago or Emory to a definite vibe and part of the "culture" at smaller schools.....and for some kids perhaps a decision that they might not want to go to one of the smaller schools unless they are going to be an athlete if there is not some other clearly defined way that they might fit in.

Oh sure... how one is perceived or accepted or whatnot on campus is a huge factor. I think that's a large part of what people don't talk about in the recruiting process. I also think it is a huge factor people don't talk about in the transfer decisions. Some like to be part of the overall campus and not stand out as an athlete. Some want to stand out as an athlete. Some want a hybrid. I personally preferred the hybrid. There were times I just wanted to be another student. There were times I appreciated being recognized as a student. I will say, I did NOT appreciate when professors singled me (or my friends) out as athletes in a negative light. That was beyond frustrating. Smaller schools that is lightly to happen more than larger schools (in DIII).
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Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2018, 03:59:24 pm »
Basic thing to keep in mind: most DIII athletic departments have about the same number of student-athletes involved. The difference in the percentages is completely based on the size of the schools. Obviously, NYU is going to have a smaller percentage involved than Hood because the size of NYU is huge compared to Hood. That's why percentage can't tell the entire story. Sure, the number of sports and the size of those sports (i.e. lacrosse and football) has a factor as well, but the overall undergraduate size of a school is a major factor. NESCACs seem like they have a huge number of student-athletes, but the schools aren't that big in the first place. By default, they are going to have a higher percentage.

NESCAC schools also offer more sports, in a few cases considerably more, than do most D3 schools. None of them seem to lack any of the more widely-played sports, and they all have programs in multiple niche sports. For example, all NESCAC schools offer both men's and women's squash, and quite a few of them offer alpine skiing (coed), nordic skiing (coed), sailing (coed), and/or rowing (both men's teams and women's teams). You'll also find men's water polo, women's water polo, and women's rugby offered as varsity sports at one NESCAC school apiece.

That's a bunch of extra student-athletes that your typical D3 school doesn't have.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 04:04:39 pm by Gregory Sager »
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Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2018, 04:18:14 pm »
That is very true. I didn't want to start diving in on the NESCAC schools and their sports, but they are traditionally like a lot of prep schools in New England in that they offer a lot of sports as they feel it is integral as part of the overall student experience.

That said, a number of the sports mentioned (not crew, necessarily, or a couple others) are smaller number sports. There aren't 50 members on the squash team. :)

Also, some are not NCAA sports, so that plays into the percentage numbers - where are we getting the data, is it based on NCAA participation, etc.
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Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Elite colleges, athletics, and admissions
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2018, 10:48:16 am »
While there is an obvious correlation with smaller enrollment = greater % of athletes, this also correlates with the impact of athletics and athletes on the feel of the school.....from barely a blip at Chicago or Emory to a definite vibe and part of the "culture" at smaller schools.....and for some kids perhaps a decision that they might not want to go to one of the smaller schools unless they are going to be an athlete if there is not some other clearly defined way that they might fit in.

Wanted to clarify my own post, as I realized later that a school being sports/athletics dominant CAN certainly apply to bigger schools, as indeed our overall culture in America (and also pretty unique to America) is highly impacted by big-time D1 athletics.  In D3, there are "bigger" schools where athletics is barely a blip but there are far bigger D1s where athletics is enormous, so size is not by itself determinative.  And if I am a pretty good D3 level soccer player or even arguably a D1 level player, NOT playing probably is going to impact me less at Alabama, Ohio State or Kentucky.  There are other ways to be "athletic" (e.g. club sports, intramurals) at those schools but they are also places that I might enjoy just as a fan.  Not playing at Colby or Hendrix would likely be much harder.  So in that sense it's more about how much not to be an athlete at the college one attends stands out (or if I'm cut from a team or suffer a career-ending injury or whatever).  Which leads to the often-cited rule of thumb of picking a school where you will be reasonably happy if you end up not playing for whatever reason.