The Real Cost of Diversifying College Rosters

College coaches struggle to find athletes who can’t pay to play elite youth sports. So Amherst College administrators have reconsidered what it takes to recruit.

Comments: 87

  1. Interesting piece by Bill Pennington on the lack of diversity in college athletics. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just ran a thought-provoking feature by Craig Meyer a couple of days ago on the lack of black head coaches in men's college basketball - despite the fact that a vast majority of players and top assistants are black. It was startling to read that when Michigan hired Juwan Howard, it the 1st black head coach hired in the Big 10 since 2007.

  2. @Aileen Bowers Being an elite basketball player depends primarily on speed, height, hand/eye coordination and strength. None of those factors are relevant to coaching. Many Hall of Fame basketball players--Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler, Danny Manning, Isaiah Thomas, etc were utter failures as coaches and general managers.

  3. @DSM14 I agree. However, the PG article focused on the high percentage of assistant coaches who are tasked with recruiting, etc., compared to the low number of those who have been hired to be the head coach of Division I teams.

  4. Russell won a couple of NBA championships as a coach in Boston

  5. Writing about Kaetu Wleh, the author reports that his "daily routine by then included five to eight hours of training and studying..." Perhaps a little more information is warranted here, how much time was being spent on sport and how much studying academics. Far too many aspiring athletes devote entirely too much time to preparation for their sport, to the detriment of their academics. One highly recruited athlete naively said, "I hope I pass my SATs." And more than a few are offered scholarships, only to discover that they are not academically qualified to enroll in the institution, due to failure to take the necessary high school courses. In the case of Mr. Wleh, it would appear that he managed to balance both commitments, which is to his credit and those who guided him through the process.

  6. My new 12 yr old son plays competitive soccer and the coach tells us that no colleges are looking at athletes who do not have experience in competitive leagues. His team is known to be the least expensive in town and costs about $1,000/yr. As a result, a number of his friends can't play, even as budding athletes and interested in playing but in families with less means per person. If the coach is right about access to college soccer, there is a lot of talent being left behind.

  7. @WJLyes, and that is why the US Men's team is so abysmal!

  8. @Leslie that is not the reason why mens team is terrible, the women's team is the best in the world. much of the reason is that the best US male athletes do not play soccer

  9. """"Many of those coaches had never heard of Amherst. Now they are encouraging some of their best players to contact Everden.""" This is how you really get a great team. You create a network of coaches that can give you a call about their players who deserve a chance. I wonder 50 years fron now when half of the student body is mixed race how history will reflect on all of this.

  10. Is my Asian descent kid considered “of color”? That term sure is used a lot in this article. In my experience, it’s a term used by white administrators (usually older) that allows them to appear that they are working on the behalf of every non-Caucasian, whereas in reality they are targeting non-Asians. I was never in favor of the Asian student case brought against Harvard (mostly because it was a blatant attempt by white racists manipulatively using the Asian community to get what they wanted), but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a bit of truth to the posit that Asian students are being discriminated against in certain ways.

  11. @JD You know the answer to that. Asians are only minorities when it's politically expedient, admissions is not one of those places.

  12. I see two problems with this. 1. Diversifying for skin color is a little gross. And yes, they did also mention socioeconomic diversity, but the main drive is to have a rainbow of skin colors on the team: “sustained, aggressive, tactical recruiting could substantially alter the LOOK of college teams.” Pure window-dressing, and very offensive. It is the African-Americans in this country who need a leg up. We are from the families handicapped by generations of poverty/racism, and before that, slavery. 1st generation African immigrants (Wlei from Liberian parents and Edo from Nigerian parents) are most certainly not in need of any kind of boost. 2. These elite schools should admit on the basis of exceptional promise, whether academic, creative, or leadership. Excellence at some niche sport (eg squash) is a ridiculous reason to recruit a student to one of the top colleges in the country. It has been well-established that admission preferences for these niche athletes is a big part of what drives the racial skewing (towards wealthy white) at many elite academic institutions. The answer is NOT to scour the earth for the rare dark-skinned players of said sports, but rather to eliminate preferential admission for them.

  13. This is interesting and not surprising. When you are talking athletics outside division 1 , especially the big school sports of football and basketball that offer full athletic scholarships, a lot of the sports in colleges are played by kids well off enough to afford the tuition (most sports, if they offer scholarships, don't pay all that much) and room and board, not to mention the training to get to the level where the school wants them. Baseball is like this, to make it in baseball kids are doing travel teams, get coaching, hitting instruction, etc, and it is expensive. With football and basketball it is different, because of high school football and pee wee football, and the full scholarships big time teams give, kids from poor backgrounds can still make it. It is much the same in classical music, it is about as elite as you can get. With the level of playing soaring, to achieve any kind of level requires intense concentration from a young age (I mean way earlier than teen level) , and it requires all kinds of expensive teaching and pre college programs and orchestras and yes, instruments. Ironically, in classical music these days it is not whites who dominate, but Asians ; but whatever the background, outside the kids who train in China where there are state programs, it takes a lot of support from the parents, financial and otherwise, a lot of families simply cannot do.

  14. Yet, training in classical music is not valued by colleges. Not at all.

  15. Nice to know that someone is making this kind of an effort. Let's hope it catches on.

  16. I applaud Amherst for seeking American athletes of color and financial need, but not for ignoring white American athletes of financial need--especially while seeking foreign athletes. The coach who scouted athletes in Prague should visit West Virgiia and Mississippi, too.

  17. Why are sports that are mostly white suspect while sports that are mostly black get a pass? Why are academic institutions giving so much consideration to sports in admissions? Other countries don't do this.

  18. It does not make any sense how much importance is given to athletics in college admissions. By all means have sports available as a way for students to compete and blow off steam, but who really cares who wins a soccer or squash match between two division III (or even division ) schools. The irrational importance given to college athletics in admissions has led to things such as the Varsity Blues scandal. It's time for the tail to stop wagging the dog.

  19. @MM Agreed. 100%

  20. @MM I agree but just look at all the other articles about college sports here. #deathtothencaa

  21. Agreed. How about NYTimes doing a piece of investigative journalism to highlight the total waste that a thing like college sports is.

  22. This weekend is the Amherst - Williams game. Interesting to compare differences in how they make admissions' decisions, not only recruitment for athletics. Also, interesting that no mention of athletic TIPS in this article.

  23. This is frustrating on so many levels. First, Amherst has been tooting its own horn for years about how diverse and progressive it is, but the reality doesn't quite match up. Raj Chetty's data indicates that 21% of Amherst students are from the top 1% of income (635K+), which is among the highest in the nation. That hasn't budged. Second, left unquestioned is why Amherst feels the need to to be top notch in squash, among other WASP sports. I consider that to be a strange priority. Third, this strategy validates organizations like Squashbusters which feed off the narrative that if only children of color were more, well, white, then they would have better opportunities. Squashbusters in particular evokes knowing smirks among a broad swath of educators and progressives in Boston. It is run by white venture capitalists, almost all of whom are men. I have family who attended Amherst - it is a fine school. But I don't like the self-righteous way they are positioning themselves on sports and admissions.

  24. @Cousy I think schools such as Amherst must balance the distribution of student/family incomes or they'll end up pinched like Trinity (profiled a couple weeks ago). A small school can't make it up in volume. If you're going to do something, do it well. That's probably a sentiment leftover from some crusty WASP but nonetheless, might have some merit yet. I think Squashbusters aims to make squash less white while providing opportunities for sport that inner-city kids lack. The leaders might be male and pale, but they're not stale. Until more schools follow Amherst, I think they can be as "self-righteous" as they want. Or perhaps viewing them as self-righteous says something about the beholder. Given all that's wrong about sports and colleges I fail to see how castigating a small school making efforts is something to deride.

  25. There aren’t any old, wealthy people of color to fund a squash program for the under-represented!!! C’mon, be reasonable.

  26. @Cousy Don't forget that schools usually count Asians as "students of color." And why shouldn't they if the diversity police are worried about too many whites? Just don't dig too deeply into how they make their numbers.

  27. Why is Amherst recruiting squash and lacrosse players at all? Participation in intercollegiate athletics (discounting the semi-professional Division I football and basketball programs) is an extracurricular activity. It provides a physical and competitive outlet for students, and helps make them well-rounded people. Winning is nice, but it should be the team's objective, but it has no place as a priority in the university's mission. Players should be recruited from the student body as it is already constituted, not recruited from outside and brought into the student body.

  28. @PWR Because Williams is.

  29. Can I ask a very practical question. Do the athletic programs at these colleges pay their own way ? If not, where does the extra-funding come from ? Are students forced to pay to support these programs ? If so, why is it fair to have the coaches fly all over America looking for recruits and then pay to have the recruits fly to the colleges ? What price College Sports ?

  30. @John Brown The article says that Amherst has a 2.4 billion dollar endowment and that 55% of its students recieve need based packages of nearly $56,000. These kids are winning the lottery when they're recruited! Plus after graduating from Amherst, like graduating from Harvard, they can easily get jobs anywhere they want.

  31. @Tall Tree I am asking about all colleges, not just the few elites.

  32. It’s curious that most of the student names in this article sound West African, particularly Ghana and Nigeria. These tend to be very elite populations, not just among immigrants but among Americans as a whole. I’m hope it’s a coincidence. If not, likely the only thing they are diversifying is skin color, not the experience of poverty, ineffective schools, and other stressors that make it difficult for many kids of color to break through.

  33. @Kattiekhiba a quick review of where these kids grew up/went to high school confirms your suspicion.

  34. @Kattiekhiba Poverty and "ineffective schools (any such thing as ineffective parents?) were not a barrier to millions of Irish, Jewish, Italian, Greek, Polish and other immigrants who found their way out. There is nothung unusual to those "stressors."

  35. @Allan H. Skin color is the barrier. "Millions of Irish, Jewish, Italian, Greek, Polish and other immigrants who found their way out" had White skin could avoid the stigma of ethnicity in a variety of ways (changing names, etc.) and were eventually incorporated into Whiteness, especially after WWII.

  36. There's no good reason for the recruiting mania. It's to please alums who want good sports teams but it is now totally out of control. I coach in a fun sports league as a side gig, and this summer, I was told that a girl couldn't make a meet for our team because she had lacrosse practice. I was a bit confused - practice over an actual competition? I was then told breathlessly that this girl had a shot to get a division 1 scholarship, and that she was playing on the most competitive team in the area and that the coach would kick her off the team if she missed any practices. The girl was 12.

  37. How about diversifying enrollment based on potential for academic achievement? Integrated sports teams outside of football and basketball would be nice, but is that really the issue? One of my children recently graduated from an Ivy League school. We are comfortably middle class, maybe even upper middle class. The depth and breadth of family wealth among his classmates is staggering, if not sickening. The sense of entitlement and apartness from the “masses” of regular folk, let alone the poor, defines a class of snobs that are virtually clueless concerning the realities of existence for the rest of us. Rather than using talented poor folk as tools to make sports at Amherst et al. more interesting, let’s invest massively in public education so that all of us, regardless of family pedigree, can obtain a world class education.

  38. @Paying Attention I am a long ago Ivy grad. I am a woman, one of the "firsts" at my school. (No Ivy pedigree here, my dad was a first generation American, the son of an immigrant who paid his way through school and law school. And yes, I am appreciative every day.) I am surprised to see your comments, at least at my alma mater the data doesn't sync with your perceptions. Admission is need blind. For the recently admitted class, about half are non-white. A quarter are Pell eligible. Over 60% of students get aid. The average grant covers 100% of tuition. Yes, there are kids from super wealthy families, but that shouldn't be a blanket characterization. They are the minority.

  39. I think the explanation, or justification, of recruiting athletes fro sports like squash at an elite college like Amherst is that what the college seeks to foster and cultivate is the pursuit of excellence. Indeed, it may well be an offshoot from the high level of competition which now exists among such institutions for students. [At the middle of the prior century, athletics at such colleges were much valued by college administrators, with a possible exception for football. Faculty tended to view athletics as at best a distraction and a diversion of scarce economic resources.But, in the 21st Century, such colleges as Amherst and Williams are awash with money. with endowments of $1 million or more per student.} True there is no real value to exceptional skill at squash, any more then there is any value in exceptional skill at chess, or even Latin, for that matter. But it does require a great deal of focus, discipline and energy to excel at a sport while also competing academically at a high level. And the example helps stimulate similar conduct among classmates (or at least that is the theory). Finally, academic performance is rather hard to quantity, while excellence at competitive sports is readily demonstrable.

  40. The solution is for colleges to forgo athletic preferences altogether. I don't see a problem with a college favoring aspiring violinists or screenwriters, but the whole athletic thing has spiraled completely out of control and not just for D1 schools, either. It's wonderful for schools to provide athletics as an extracurricular activity for their hard-working students, but that's it.

  41. Call me old and out of it, but I thought the reason for going to college was to learn something that would expand one’s horizons and lead to a gratifying and remunerative career, not to play sports. I would be interested in seeing the academic performance figures for those hard-to-find minority recruits at Amherst: GPA, % graduating in 4 years, % graduating in 5 and 6 years, % graduating ever (drop-out rate), % landing better than burger-flipper jobs. I can’t imagine that the figures will be persuasive.

  42. @Mon Ray You must not be familiar with Amherst. The graduation rates are typically > 90% in four years. None of my classmates are flipping burgers. I played soccer all 4 years and am now a surgeon. My roommate - basketball - is also an MD. The hockey players from my hometown - surgeon and CEO. This is a small, division 3 liberal arts college where the focus is preparing students for the world. Sports can, for some students, be part of that preparation. There were no issues with missing a practice to attend a class. I had teammates miss a season so they could study abroad. Amherst is one of the "little Ivies" and about as a competitive college as you will find. There are no free passes there. I don't think you are old and out of it, I do think you may be a bit biased against "those hard-to-find minority recruits". Hard to find doesn't mean less qualified or capable.

  43. Just a correction - Amherst is decidedly in western Massachusetts, not central Mass.

  44. @Dave - thank you!

  45. How about getting HBCUs to diversify and actively recruit white, Asian, and Hispanic athletes. Wouln't diversity help places like Grambling, Morehouse, and Spellman too?

  46. @Liberty hound HBCUs do recruit White athletes. My dad coached football at HBCUs his entire career and almost always had White athletes on his roster. The same is true for HBCU baseball and soccer teams. Google the latter. You'll see many HBCU women's soccer rosters with White players. Many HBCUs have large White enrollments, especially in areas where the HBCUs are public and PWIs are private.

  47. When it comes to something like the squash team "white" is an interesting term. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of America's white people have no access to squash whatsoever.

  48. I'll be impressed with the academic commitment to ethnic diversity when blacks, who make up only 12% of the US population, cease to dominate the big revenue sports like men's basketball and football. In my experience, diversity translates as fewer whites, especially white males. When any other ethnic group dominates, then diversity is of no interest. Talk about hypocrisy! How about a few more Asians and Hispanics on the football and basketball teams? Anyone for a quota?

  49. I am frustrated at the use of the term "non Hispanic white" as a catchall for anyone who doesn't fit into other categories. It is a meaningless classification forcing so many very divergent subgroups into one class, and is downright offensive to some of us that are non Hispanic but who were never considered "white" or "white enough" by a large segment of others in the "white" group. I am an Italian American. My skin color is a medium brown. My ancestors were often referred to as "half ( N word)" particularly in the South. The greatest mass lynching in US history was of Italians in Louisiana. In fact, my grandparents had a cross burned on their lawn and were terrorized by the KKK. I certainly was considered "something less" when I was younger, particularly when I applied for jobs where the upper crust white occupied the executive suites. Now, because I do not fit into the current definition "of color", I am thrown into the same group as those who burned the cross and those who disdained me and my ancestors. Yet, a fair skinned upper middle class person from Madrid gets placed into the same Hispanic category as an poor indigenous person from Central America. Please, please stop forcing me and members of other ethnic subgroups into one huge class the members of whom historically discriminated against us.

  50. Some of the article is a little suspect in its reasoning. Citing diversity statistics after eliminating large, majority black sports (football and basketball) seems bogus. Different groups obviously have different preferences. And that is ok.

  51. My son had 1580 on SAT and was rejected by Amherst and Williams. He is white middle class kid who won an international award in aerospace engineering.

  52. Ditto my daughter. National Merit Finalist, stellar student, profoundly talented violinist - did not get into Amherst or Williams. It was slap on the face when 3 days after rejection Williams violin faculty “recruited” my daughter to join her master class in Vienna on the basis of her arts supplement... but pardon me, musicians do not get recruited by colleges. Colleges should stop recruiting athletes. End of story.

  53. Same here. Galling.

  54. @DL I'm sure many of the people complaining about athletes getting college admissions preferences nevertheless love to watch college and professional sports, the olympics, national sports teams, play sports-themed video games, etc. Where do they think those players come from? Who do they think trains those athletes? If people have a problem with the business college athletics, I hope they acknowledge that their support of all athletics (by watching it on TV, going to sports events, buying sports merchandise and magazines, playing sports video games, etc.) is part of the problem. And they might probably be complaining less if their children were athletes and getting those same preferences.

  55. "...nearly 70 percent of its athletes competing outside football and basketball were white" Funny thing - 60% of NCAA Division 1 BBall players are Black. But I am guessing that is not seen as a problem?

  56. It is stupefying to have an article seeming to advocate, with implied lavish praise) that race should play a role in athletics. Over a century of effort has been made to assimilate people of all ethnicities (spoiler -- there are more identities in America than black white and "non hispanic" white) into one America. This transparent use of racial quotas demeans people of other identities (ever hear of Jews, or Italians, Vietnamese, Japanese, or Irish?). Further, the purpose of elite colleges is high level academics. Amherst's average SAT score is 1430. The article;'s praise for an athlete with 1680 suggests a racial handicapping system that gives 150+ points to skin color. It is a legitimate view to hope that the Supreme Court will put an end to these quotas of "underrepresented." College is about academics. The only people who should be "represented" are those who meet those standards. Skin color is not a skill.

  57. This is virtue signaling at it's most absurd level & will never happen at a major University. This only works because Amherst doesn't recruit scholarship athletes & doesn't offer full scholarships for team sports. They are playing what is essentially called club or intramural sports...not competitive sports. What this is at the end of the day is another "woke" progressive marketing ploy..."Come see us play! Our soccer team is the most ethnically diverse!" If Amherst played a great men's soccer team like Clemson they would get annihilated 50-0...if Clemson was having an off day. Truthfully Amherst would find themselves in the same place with a good high school soccer team. An interesting fact that hasn't filtered down to the progressive Amherst brain trust. Division one schools like Clemson (who is in the deep South)have more ethnically diverse athletic teams at ALL levels because...wait for it...they recruit the best athletes. The college leadership doesn't have to tell its coaches point-blank that being diverse is an overwhelming priority. That result is a natural by-product of recruiting high school All Americans. Amherst has a two billion dollar endowment. Fund your sports at the same level as other major colleges & diversity will never be a problem. Honestly, most Division 1 coaches don't care about diversity. They care about winning ...period. If you have too many losing seasons you are fired. And then you end up coaching at Amherst...which is the worst-case scenario.

  58. @Bill Brown, Amherst is a small elite college where many Clemson athletes wouldn't be able to handle the academics. Clemson is far more focused on athletics than Amherst is and both schools are comfortable with things that way. Comparing Amherst athletics to a good high school soccer team is fairly silly, however. The best Amherst athletes are typically division one level players. Their top goal scorer this year won an award from the US Soccer Development academy when in high school. Yes, Clemson would crush them. But these guys are legit athletes.

  59. @Kevin I see your point. There was a little bit of hyperbole in my comment. Having said that I could have easily mentioned Duke, Virginia, or Stanford which field great soccer teams & maintain high academic standards. I don't think any of these athletes would have a problem handling the Amherst academics. Truthfully a lot of athletes at Division 1 schools who play minor sports like soccer, swimming, and gymnastics are also Academic All Americans. So we can set aside the enduring myth of the dumb jock. My point is simply this. Forcing the Amherst soccer coaches to have an ethnically diverse soccer team when they have a tiny recruiting budget is insane. This is progressive zealotry falling off the ledge and why they are often relentlessly & deservedly mocked. It doesn't make the team better or more enjoyable to watch. It makes them demonstrably worse because you are either (1) not putting the best athletes on the field or (2) engaging in blatant tokenism to sooth neurotic liberal guilt. We shouldn't endorse or abide by this high strung political correctness. It's an anathema to the true purpose of competitive sports.

  60. He doesn't have to leave New England. Come on up to Lewiston, Maine, where pretty much the entire boys' soccer team is Somali and they've won the state championship in 3 of the last 4 years.

  61. @renee - not convenient to the narrative, unfortunately.

  62. Oh, but Division III schools don't offer sports scholarships. LOL. I'm sure there is always room for some need-based and merit-based aid, just like the myth about how the Ivy League gets its players. Nothing personal against the young squash recruit, as he probably deserves and has earned help. It's another bogus system. As more and more private schools struggle to stay alive, I hope more of them shrink their sports programs. If they can't have diversity, then what's the point of having that sport? Why should they have a squash team?

  63. Why do athletes get scholarships? What does being good at sports have to do with academics. And unlike art scholarship to study and create art, the scholarship is unconnected to anything academic.

  64. @BNYgal Why do kids that are good at math or English get scholarships? What are they doing for the school?

  65. Ahhhh, more contrived diversity. There are few things as destructive to self-image and well-being as affirmative action. Whites, Blacks and everyone else don't need to be judged by skin color, scholarships and college acceptance should be based on merit and financial need. So, when someone "of color" (always loved that term) tells me they went to Harvard or Yale, how am I not supposed to think about the different standards used to accept them? The funniest thing is that everyone ignores the longstanding and universally tolerated "legacy" scandal that we continue to perpetuate. My friends: how long until every Ivy will be entirely non-white legacy students? I suppose that is the goal and we are just to quietly accept it.

  66. @viktor64 So you're saying you don't currently meet a white person from an Ivy and think "Oh, your daddy must have gone there" or "Oh, your parents must have bought you fancy sports equipment / hired tutors / sent you on expensive summer experiences" etc. - ? Don't you think that makes as much or more sense as the assumptions you make? And the day may well come when the Ivies are filled with non-white legacy students. So what? Not sure why that's so offensive to you. We have a white Ivy grad running the country into the ground right now - so, yay for white Ivy grads? I prefer the nonwhite Ivy grad we had before. Just for an example.

  67. @Kathy another area where I disagree with you. You're equating getting into college based on skin color with getting into college because your parents pushed you hard, gave you opportunities, and you accomplished things. While I'm not a fan of college athletic recruiting (and the expense of high school sports), I think that as a society we absolutely want parents to push their kids towards accomplishment, and to feel like their efforts will make a difference. Schools can't do it all, we need parents pushing their kids. To me it's reasonable to view this differently from getting in based on a physical attribute that is largely irrelevant. As to your other point, the kids whose daddy went there. Once again, I went to Amherst, and we 100% whispered that about certain legacy students who clearly didn't belong intellectually. Everyone knew who they were and laughed about the easy classes they were taking (Amherst has no core curriculum so you can sneak by as long as you also choose an easy major), and got upset when they also got automatic coveted internships at Lehman.

  68. I looked at the 2010 census, which said that 72% of the United States self-identified as white and 29% as Black or Hispanic, so Amherst really does not reflect diversity in America, they over-represent certain groups. Financially, they can afford to do this. Occidental College, a school with a similar emphasis on their definition of diversity, has slightly more students but an endowment that is only one-sixth the size of Amherst so Amherst can fully afford to buy students of their choosing. Amherst can afford to fly prospective students in, and pay for airfare and expenses, to expand diversity efforts. If Amherst did this for poor, mid-western white students, would the Times be writing a supportive column? I think not. My daughter had much better grades and SAT's than the student mentioned but had literally no chance of going to Amherst. This does not represent equal opportunity, but rather unequal opportunity.

  69. Using Amherst as a template for other colleges is not right. Amherst is near/at the top of the food chain and can basically pick any students it wants. This is not representative of the reality most colleges face. When I went to Amherst, they were allowing students with SAT scores around 1250 in as recruited athletes to non-football sports, which is a very low number for Amherst (rumor was always that football was much lower). I'm imagining with this push for minority recruits, they were going lower, say 1150 or so. This means that elite colleges like Amherst are vaccuuming up a huge proportion of the fairly small population of athletes of color that is well qualified for college, and leaving a small amount left for other schools. The kids Amherst is taking would have gone to college somewhere pretty good, so the net effect is largely that Amherst takes more of those kids and there are fewer left for the schools a tier down. Eventually all the minority students are taken and there's a huge white population left, because white students have much higher levels of academic achievement. So no, the Amherst model is not at all scalable. It's not even really causing systemic change. It just means that a few kids who might have gone to, I don't know, Fairfield, end up at Amherst instead, so Amherst has more students of color and Fairfield, fewer (and Amherst has fewer white kids while Fairfield has more). It's lip service and posturing. It's not transformative change.

  70. @Kevin "I'm imagining with this push for minority recruits, they were going lower, say 1150 or so." Wow - where to start? Stereotype much? Not to mention: what do you suppose the average SAT score would be for the vast majority of more privileged applicants without their tutors and prep classes? And you dismiss the possibility of transformative change, but it's been happening - to the Amherst College experience, for everyone there, especially the more "privileged" white kids who now have the privilege of sharing their college years with some pretty cool people they very likely would never have encountered otherwise. Perhaps it would no longer suit you there. Perhaps they would no longer find you suitable . . .

  71. @Kathy it's not stereotyping to say that SAT scores for students of color are lower and so that the population of high scorers is small relative to proportion of the population as a whole. That's just a fact. You're also assuming that the students of color don't do SAT prep and that the white students do (this, by the way, IS stereotyping). My assumption is, if they're all getting over 1150, most are doing test prep. These aren't kids from the projects stuck in a cycle of poverty. My point remains - they would have gone to a pretty good college either way. Them going to Amherst means that Amherst gets a few more students of color and schools in lower tiers end up with a smaller pool of qualified applicants of color. Can we at least agree that Amherst isn't a "typical" school, and so this author implying that a program implemented by Amherst is extensible to other colleges is unrealistic?

  72. @Kathy - As to the stereotyping with the scores, I suspect the thumb on the scale is actually considerably more than a couple of hundred points.

  73. The young man in this article received a full ride on a need-based scholarship rather than an athletic scholarship because Amherst is Div III and can’t grant athletic scholarships. If this were a Div I school, it would be an athletic scholarship and, depending on the sport, be anywhere from a quarter to half a scholarship in the first year unless the student was, say, already a national champion. In other words, for most sports an athletic scholarship doesn’t go very far AND the coach owns you. College sports, especially at the level of Div I, is not about allowing athletes to be students first and athletes second. It is about having teams that win and putting the competition schedule first. As such, many NCAA programs are exploitative. Students get shuttled around the country to compete on days on the week when they should be attending class and doing homework and get relegated to the trash heap if injured or replaced by getter talent. The whole point of going to college is to leave with a degree that you can use. While it is very commendable that Amherst is making the effort to find diverse American talent for sports that do not have much minority participation, all coaches are tasked to do one thing: recruit winning talent.

  74. @Madeline As a former D1 athlete, you couldn't be more wrong. Yup a few college basketball and football teams are probably not giving their players the academic experience they deserve. There are 350 D1 colleges and the majority of them are not run like professional sports teams and those kids actually go to class and graduate with a degree.

  75. The Amherst College athletic recruiting article is a vivid example of why rhe USA is destined to rapidly become a declining nation. Colleges assiduously court, recruit, and provide financial assistance to talented athletes. They are highly valued currency in the competition between so-called institutions of higher learning in the USA. Unfortunately for us, it is the intellectually talented who are the real value in the competition between nations. For US colleges, winning sports teams are more important than academic pursuits. In the rest of the world the reverse is true..

  76. It is bizarre that our country allocates scarce elite academic resources based on one's ability to play a game. We are probably the only leading nation that does this. This is weird.

  77. @Be Kind It's bizarre our country allocates resources to pay people to not work and have kids!

  78. They are diversifying the football and basketball teams - taking more majorities?

  79. Whatever happened to sports being just a fun extracurricular program? Why are colleges like Amherst recruiting athletes at all? I was a college athlete in the 1980s in a "non-revenue" sport at a college that does not provide athletic scholarships. We were mainly walk ons and it worked fine.

  80. @The Judge Hmm, competing in athletics teaches a lot of life skills and I know employers love to recruit student-athletes because they have learned how to work hard, how to fail, how to deal with adversity, how to budget their time, how to work under and follow a coaches instructions. What else do you want to know?

  81. These comments are deeply saddening and shocking. There is a host of evidence which suggests that diversity in schools is beneficial to White students because it is often the only vehicle that exposes White students to people of color, especially in light of extremely high levels of residential segregation in this country. It often eliminates the physical fear many White folks have of people of color. Moreover, there are also numerous benefits to learning in a diverse classroom. Students of color bring their experiences to the classroom with them, and I have seen how it can illuminate discussion on a variety of topics, particularly when it forces students to think critically about some taken for granted idea informed by Western or mainstream White customs. Finally, as a society, we have a vested interest in investing in diversity. It builds solidarity. It improves the competitiveness of firms in economic markets. Firms with diverse employee pools are more productive than firms with less diverse pools. I'm sure the Amherst surgeon (who commented here) has a higher comfort level with patients of color in light of his exposure to nonwhite students during his college days. How does this improve the level of services he/she is able to provide to them? Greatly I'm sure. As a person of color, this is certainly my experience. Why would I go to anyone providing a service (doctors, dentists, tax preparers) who is obviously not comfortable with me?

  82. Thanks for informing me of yet another great injustice in our society - and that is the lack of POC playing collegiate squash. I will nevertheless try to put this outrage out of my mind tomorrow when I eagerly watch the LSU/Alabama football game - whose great teams just happen to be overwhelmingly comprised of young black men - who apparently somehow don't count to Mr. Pennington.

  83. This makes no sense. All these colleges have to do is look at football and basketball which is chock full of black players. Yet they still see a problem because they want MORE black and brown players? How about they give MORE academic scholarships to white kids and MORE athletic scholarships to black and brown kids. Would that then allow these small liberal arts colleges to make their color based recruiting goals?

  84. I surmise that Amherst will go to any extreme just to beat Wesleyan and Williams.

  85. But roughly three years ago, when the demographics of its athletic teams did not match the makeup of the overall student population (just 23 percent of players on the college’s rosters were athletes of color) If the demographics of the US are roughly 13 percent African American, I'd say 23 percent is high!!! Yet you think that is still a problem?