Company Index

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the March 28, 2001 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

To the Editor: A Replay On Student Athletes

There I was, immersed in March Madness and pulling hard

for my alma mater’s team, a group I have always believed to be not

just good basketball players, but also good students. Then came the

March 14 issue of U.S. 1, with David McDonough’s story about "The

Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values," by James

L. Shulman and William G. Bowen, former Princeton University

president.

There was my school, Duke University, listed along with other colleges

the authors had sampled for their book, which suggests there is a

wide and growing gap between university athletes and non-athletes

in several key areas.

"Say it ain’t so" was my reflexive thought. Then, after doing

a bit of my own research, I discovered that in just about every case

the authors cite, it isn’t so at Duke. While what follows may be

regarded

as the bias of a Duke alumnus, the facts I turned up are, inarguably,

contrary to the findings reported in and from the book. My information

came from Brad Berndt, assistant director of athletics in charge of

academic services, and the Duke Basketball 2000-2001 Yearbook.

Below are statements in the U.S. 1 story from or about the

Shulman-Bowen

book; after each one are facts from or about Duke:

U.S. 1: "One of the findings that troubles Bowen most

is the growing tendency for athletes to perform less well academically

than others and to enter schools with lower SATs than the average

student."

At Duke: One of the key measures of how well students do in

their four-year college experience is the graduation rate. At Duke,

the average graduation rate over the past four years for

student-athletes

is 93 percent. The rate for all other students is 94 percent —

"phenomenal rates for both groups," according to Berndt.

Moreover, while the average SAT score for all athletes at Duke is

about 100 points lower than those of all other incoming students —

a little over 1200 as opposed to a little over 1300 — the athletes

perform as well, on average, as all other students, as shown by the

similar graduation rates. Berndt says there is no discernible

difference

through the four years between the academic performance of athletes

and non-athletes. And, as Berndt offers, most college admissions

directors

would be elated with either of the scores mentioned here.

U.S. 1 notes an ever-widening gap between the athletes

and the rest of the student world. "It’s more and more a separate

community," Bowen is quoted as saying.

At Duke Brad Berndt says student-athletes fit in seamlessly

with all other students in all significant ways. For instance:

* Athletes choose from among the same 40 majors at Duke

in the same ratio as do all other students, and, Berndt states,

"there

are no easy majors at Duke."

* There are no separate dorms or dining areas for

athletes.

* As freshmen, all students are lodged on one of two

campuses

— the one farthest from all athletic facilities at the university.

* All athletes are assigned academic advisers, just the

same as all non-athletes.

* As athletes progress through their four years at Duke,

they take the same kinds of classes as all other students; they are

subject to the same rigorous testing and grading standards; and on

average they graduate in the same length of time, with an almost

identical

graduation rate. As the Basketball Yearbook says, "the term

`student-athlete’

is genuinely appropriate."

U.S. 1: "Colleges are very scarce resources," Bowen

is quoted as saying. "In a way the lower SAT scores bother me

less than the fact that you get lower performance from athletes with

a certain SAT score than other students with the same SAT score. The

real issue is the best use of a scarce resource . . . My choice would

be admitting people who will take fuller advantage of the educational

opportunities of the institution."

At Duke athletes with their SAT scores perform every bit as

well as non-athletes with their SAT scores. Acknowledging that the

university is a scarce resource, it appears clear that Duke athletes

accept this notion and do in fact "take full advantage . . .

."

I have no doubt, nor would anyone who follows college sports,

that there are schools where athletes abuse their status, don’t

graduate

and in fact, don’t even complete one year. Press coverage of NCAA

penalties bears this out. I speak here only of Duke, an institution

that does not deserve to be daubed with the too-broad brush of Shulman

and Bowen.

Two final arguments in defense of athletes at Duke: First, where else

can you imagine a coach electing not to raise the National Basketball

Championship banner on campus until one of his top players, Christian

Laettner, returned to school to complete the one course he need for

graduation? (This story was confirmed by Brad Berndt.)

Finally, since the Duke football team has a record of 0 and 11 for

the past two seasons (while boasting several academic all-Americans

on both teams), one has to wonder if maybe they should pay a little

more attention to athletics — just to balance things out.

Go Duke!

Joe Summers

Lawrenceville

Top Of Page
Company Index

The print version of U.S. Newspaper, March 28, covers these

companies in Survival Guide (pp. 4 to 14), the cover story (pp. 41 to

44), and Life in the Fast Lane (pp. 45 to 47). All are archived at

www.princetoninfo.com

Arena Capital, 41; Chauncey Group, 41; Educational Testing Service,

41; EduNeering Inc., 41; eMind.com, 41; Federal Bureau of

Investigation, 8; Galen Partners, 41; Global Value Investors Inc., 12;

Hastings Healthcare Group, 41, 44.

Inforest Communications, 9; J.H. Cohn LLP, 46; Justballs!, 47;

Knapp & Associates International, 41; KnowledgeWire, 41;

McCarter Theater, 8; Media By Design, 41; New Jersey Bankers

Association, 46; New Jersey Department of Labor, 6;

New Jersey Society of CPAs, 14; Newton Interactive, 41, 44;

Novartis, 41.

Princeton Learning Systems, 41; Princeton University, 45;

Rutgers Family Business Forum, 4; Sarnoff Corporation, 41;

Sibson & Co., 41; Skylands Small Business Development

Center, 10; State Theatre, 46; Stonehouse Media, 41;

TravRoute, 46;

Trenton Business Assistance Center, 10, 12;

Vaughn Design, 45;

White Eagle Printing, 5.


Previous Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments