Oren Cass ’05 has lots of interesting things to say on the topics of tips. Just keep scrolling. Cass asks:

But why do we admit people who are good at sports? Wouldn’t it be better to let our brilliant “academic admits” fill up all those varsity rosters and benefit from the experiences? Absolutely… if that’s what they were good at.

I guess it all depends on what you mean by “good.” I don’t see Cass, or any other defender of tips, squarely confronting one of the most important — and immutable — aspects of athletics at Williams: there are only so many spots on a given team, there are only so many minutes of playing time to go around.

How would Cass feel about tips if he hadn’t made the baseball team, if all the wonderful experiences that he correctly ascribes to varsity athletics at Williams were not available to him?

There are people like that out there of course. Cass might even know their names. Baseball coach Dave Barnard certainly does. There are 32 spots on the baseball roster. What about the 33rd, 34th, and 35th best baseball players at Williams? Where are they now?

Answer: They didn’t make the team. They were cut. They, presumably, were not tips and got into Williams without reference to their speed on the bases. They don’t get to go to Florida with the team. They don’t get to play Amherst. They don’t get to talk about varsity athletics at their job interviews. They never wear the purple.

How would Cass feel if he were in their shoes? How does he explain to them — good high school baseball players who love the game and who would get as much out of the experience of playing for Dave Barnard as he does— that the tips policy makes sense?

I don’t think that he can.

Print  •  Email