For those interested in athletics at Williams, the “Striving for Balance in NESCAC” article in the Portland Press Herald is a must read. Highlights included:

To build a competitive program, everything really starts in the admission office. That’s one of the reasons Williams College, one of the top Division III programs in the region, has been so successful year after year.

“Athletics are important, but that’s not why people come here,” Williams Coach Dick Farley said. “But we do admit certain kids that otherwise would not get in if they didn’t play football.”

So what you will about Coach Farley, but he tells it like it is. This honesty is positively refreshing when compared with some of the boilerplate on this topic that the College occasionally provides for alumni consumption.

Success on the football field in the NESCAC is influenced by how much preferential treatment is given to prospective football players by admission departments. Williams, Amherst and Wesleyan, known as the Little Three, made a pact that allows them to admit 14 football players a year who don’t meet the general admission requirements. The SAT range for students at Williams is 1,320-1,510, but football players can have a score 100 points lower than the general student population, said Farley.

When those 14 exceptions are added to the exceptions made for children of alumni and minority students, Williams ends up with a diverse and well-rounded campus community and a pretty good football team.

So, out of the 65 tips that Williams had last year, 14 were for the football team. The article does not make it clear if minority/alumni applicants count toward these 14 slots.

Lippert [Colby’s senior quarterback] said it’s hard to understand why schools with academic reputations as good as Williams and Amherst can admit student-athletes who don’t get into Colby.

“We’ve had guys who come here on recruiting trips saying this is their first choice and they don’t get in,” said Lippert. “The next time we see them is when we’re shaking hands on Saturday after a game. Somehow the borderline players are getting in there. It makes people wonder.”

It sure does!

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