SAT Scores and Athletics

Silly me. I have spent a lot of time and energy encouraging my daughter to take challenging academic courses in high school to improve her SAT scores - in hopes that she would then have her choice of colleges. Someone should have told me - she would have more options if she played football or basketball.

I should have realized that men's basketball and football are the two sports that generate the most income for Division I schools, so admission directors seem to make certain allowances for males who play those sports. A recent article in the Palo Alto Daily by Jason Katz summarized articles from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and a recent Higher Ed article which suggest that student athletes are treated differently in the admissions process.

Some of the most disturbing differences were the major discrepancies in SAT scores between athletes and non-athletes. For example, out of a maximum of 1600 points, the average SAT for all freshmen at the colleges investigated was 1161, while the average for athletes was 1037, 124 points lower. If you only look at football players, the average scores are 220 points lower, and if you only look at basketball players, the scores were on average, 227 points lower.

Excuse me, but how is this tolerated, and how fair is it to the athletes, who will come to college facing grueling training and game schedules which usually require multiple hours a day for practice and some missed classes for away games, on top of having to work harder academically to just keep up!
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