NESCAC alters athletic policies
The New England Small College Athletic Association presidents
met on December 13 in Boston to discuss admissions procedures for rated
athletes. Bowdoin College President Barry Mills said that a few important
developments emerged from that meeting.
"We had a follow-up discussion about the issues related
to admissions," he said. "At that meeting, Williams, Amherst,
and Wesleyan announced a reduction in the number of rated athletes that
is consistent...with what Bowdoin is doing."
"It was gratifying to see that these other three schools
are going to take similar kinds of action," Mills said.
Ten days prior to the meeting, Bowdoin Dean of Admissions
Jim Miller announced that the College would admit 20 percent fewer rated
athletes next year.
The only other NESCAC school aside from the aforementioned
institutions to make such a statement at the December 13 meeting was Middlebury.
"Middlebury announced that they were going to take similar actions,
but they were less specific in their actual goals," Mills said.
"The numbers aren't as important as the principle that
they're going to do this," Mills said. "There was general agreement
around the table that the level of reduction for rated athletes would
be about the same as it was here at Bowdoin."
No other specific commitments have been publicized from
the six other schools in the league.
According to Mills, the presidents agreed to continue meeting
and talking about admissions systems and the definition of rated athletes.
A rated athlete is one marked as 'desirable' for admission by a coach.
"We want to understand the vocabulary when we talk together,"
Giving an example of such difficulties in school-to-school
comparison, Mills cited Williams and Amherst: schools that do not count
legacies in their number of rated athletes. "That's one of the reasons
we want to get the admissions people together and make sure we're all
talking in the same way," he said.
Mills indicated that the process would continue through
this year and into the future. "We need to continue to talk about
appropriate candidates for admissions," he said. The presidents need
to agree that the basic principle upon which the NESCAC was formed-that
students who are at any of these schools and participate in athletics
should be representative of the student body as a whole-continues to be
a principle that we believe appropriate for the NESCAC."
The next presidents meeting will take place sometime in
the spring. Meanwhile, the College administration plans to keep the discussion
"We'll be working on ways to enhance both the athletic
and academic experience for people who participate in athletics on this
campus," he continued. "I think it's very important for us to
recognize the value that both the coaches and the faculty have here as
teachers. We're all working toward the same goals and creating greater
levels of communication to try to reach those goals."