I was too early in predicting the demise of the football team. After starting 0-2, they ran the table, including a Little 3 Championship. The Record reports that the Ephs are now seventh in Director Cup standings.

For the first time since May 2002, Williams does not sit at the top of the standings for the U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup, awarded to the best overall athletic program in each NCAA division. Although the Ephs have won the last seven titles and nine of the last 10, standings that were released on Nov. 23 show Williams in seventh place, trailing overall leader Calvin College 194-143.

Williams now seems to be in 6th place. But, whatever the ups and downs of the rest of this year, we are now in Morty’s world. Virtually every student at Williams was admitted under his watch and, at least since the time of The Report and Varsity Athletics, significantly less weight has been given to athletic excellence. Williams might squeak out a Directors’ Cup now and again, but its era of domination is over. Baseball Coach Dave Barnard predicted this future and, indeed, it has come to pass.

And that is a good thing. Playing 15 hours a week of soccer in high school — like significant dedication to any endeavor — ought to count for something in the application process. But it should not count for much more for the student who — via genes and good coaching — can star at Williams than for the student headed for intramurals.

Another place to see the change in policy is in the lower bands of SAT scores among admitted students. Check out the data. In 2005-2006, only 5% of Williams student at verbal SATs below 600. In 1998-1999, the number was 9%. (At the same time, the percentage scoring 700 or above has increased from 59% to 64%.)

Williams has cut the number of low-band admissions almost in half. Now, not all of these were star athletes, but a lot of them were. Williams is better off in their absence, not because these are bad people, but because the students who took their place, the applicants that, in 1998 were rejected and therefore invisible, bring more to the College.

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