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"Athletic recruits don't deserve to be here as much as other students."
I certainly don't think athletes deserve their spots here any less than anyone else; many of my recruited friends are much better at managing their time because of their high school experiences, for example. But that goes for many other things: the world class violinists or published novelists or whatever other talented people we have here all bring both their talents and the skills they learned in pursuing their talents here. To that end, I'm not really sure why we recruit instead of treating athletics like other high school accomplishments; the normal justifications for college recruiting (we need a competitive team to bring in enough money to keep the school afloat) don't really apply here thanks to our enormous endowment and the (please forgive me, athletes) relative crappiness of our non-crew, non-women's hockey teams and apathy of the student population toward attending sports matches. It just seems unfair to me that athletes get spared the emotional/financial/etc. turmoil of going through the normal application process when it's just one (albeit a very respectable one) talent among the many people bring to the school.
Generally agreed, although perhaps football is still a money-maker for us. Not sure.
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