Sept. 25, 2003 – Vol. 23 No. 1

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    UAA, Chicago receive praise

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    The University received high praise in William Bowen and Sarah Levin’s new book, Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values. Here are some excerpts from their book.

    On the success of the UAA:

    “The most basic question to be asked about the UAA is this: How has it managed to mount what is, by all signs, a successful intercollegiate program without paying the academic price that is so evident in the Ivy League and in NESCAC (The New England Small College Athletic Conference)?”

    On implementing policies that will achieve the right balance between athletics and academics:

    “From the beginning, the presidents instructed the executive secretary of the UAA to monitor the academic performance of the athletes, not just their entering credentials. The active involvement of the University of Chicago, with its emphasis on core academic values, has without question been a help in achieving and maintaining this policy.”

    On Chicago’s student-athletes:

    “Recruited athletes who want a more intensive athletic experience may well turn down a UAA school for a scholarship-granting school or another school where athletics is more all-encompassing. In contrast, those students who want to go to the University of Chicago (to continue with that example) presumably know what kind of academic program they are choosing.”

    On recruiting athletes:

    ”The University of Chicago may be the most extreme example... (Ted) O’Neill described admissions at Chicago as ‘homemade.’ There are no directives from ‘on high’ as to how he should view athletes, and he has considerable flexibility. One thing is clear, however: ‘The admissions office is in the driver’s seat and makes the choices; no coach gets to have a heavy say in which particular students will get admitted.’

    “The head coach of women’s soccer at Chicago, Amy Reifert, corroborated this view of how things work. Reifert also recognizes that the admissions office has to look at all applicants in terms of the high school context. If one of her potential recruits ranks something like 12th in a good school and Chicago may be turning down the fourth- and fifth-ranked students, they are unlikely to take her candidate. She is, as she put it, entirely ‘content with a situation in which it is admissions, and not the coaches, who make the real admit decisions.’ ”