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
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