PTC asks

David- Were you an Athlete in College? A lot of your posts suggest to me that you think sports is given too much emphasis when it comes to getting into Williams? I am just wondering.

1) Whether or not I was an athlete at Williams is fairly irrelevant to this issue. I was.

2) I am pro-athlete but anti-tip, or at least anti the current amount of emphasis on athletics in admissions at Williams. In other words, I think that Williams should place a lot of emphasis on athletics. If anything, I would like to see more done for Eph athletes.

For example, there ought to be a freshmen soccer team. Many male (and female?) Ephs come to Williams loving to play soccer but not skilled enough for either the varsity or JV teams. Such Ephs should have another option, at least for freshman year, a way to wear the purple and gold for the school they love. Even if this were a casual team, coached by a senior, with only a handful of games against local high schools, it would still be a wonderful experience for the Eph athletes involved. Williams should provide that experience. The same goes for JV baseball, freshman basketball and any other sports with enough interest.

3) But, even though I want more done for Ephs who are athletes, I would like to see less emphasis placed on athletics in admission. This has already come to pass in the 6 years since the Report on Varsity Athletics. There are many fewer athletes admitted to Williams with sub-1200 SAT scores than there used to be. Some folks, like former baseball coach Dave Barnard (and even I), predicted (and here) that Williams would no longer be able to compete, at least in the elite men’s sports which have often needed admissions help in the past. Fortunately, that prediction turned out wrong.

If Williams, even with more stringent admissions, can still win the Directors Cup, have football go undefeated and win NESCAC championships in basketball and baseball, there is no reason to think that we need more emphasis on athletics. If anything, I would like to see (and I expect Morty to take) another step in the opposite direction. Right now, there are Academic Rank 4 and 5 athletes who are admitted while AR 1 students, especially foreigners, are rejected. That ought to change, at least on the margin. I bet that it will.

I am pro-athlete and anti-tip.

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