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JUNE 2003
Volume 95, Issue 5

GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLetters

It might sound ridiculous, but “potty parity” is an issue…

High cost of athletic support?
After reading Carrie Golus’s “College Report” in the February/2003 issue, I was so angry that I put the magazine down, waited a week, and then re-read the piece again just to make sure I had read it correctly. The mere notion that academic standards at the University of Chicago are not relaxed for some prospective athletes is just silly. There are many examples of acceptable students admitted to the University who happen to participate in the school’s athletic programs. There are even shining examples of student-athletes such as Brad Henderson [AB’01, AM’01] and Erin Bohula [AB’99]. The sad truth, however, is that there is a non-insignificant percentage of athletes admitted to the University who have no business being there. It is only because many of these athletes go on to concentrate in the University’s less stringent areas of study and belong to the same extracurricular student organizations, which lend themselves to “creative collaboration,” that they are able to keep pace with the academic rigors of the College.

Perhaps a better idea for a story would be to examine if athletics at the University of Chicago has any context at all. Every year the University spends millions of dollars on athletics (not including the millions currently being spent on the Ratner Center), and I have a hard time determining why. There is only a small percentage of the student body that participates in athletics (excluding intramural sports). No sport at the University gathers any kind of consistent support from the student body or the local community. Often times there are only a smattering of fans for a given competition.

So what does athletics at the University of Chicago add? Does it improve the University’s rank in polls, or the overall perception of the University? I believe that the University could find a more productive and efficient way of spending this money in order to accomplish those goals. It would appear that the University has an athletic program simply for the sake of having one, and only at the expense of the greater student body.

Justin Skiftenes, AB’00

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