Furstenburg Comments in Valley News

The words themselves are unfortunately not shocking, but the fact that they were made public is. As Alex notes in his comment, the school is in damage control mode already.

Articles from the Valley News onFriday and today shed some light on the football team’s struggles. The latter article is a good comparison between Dartmouth and its Ivy rivals in terms of facilities, admissions, and so on, while Friday’s article has the candid remarks from the Dean. The relavent part of Friday’s story appears below:

In the letter to Swarthmore College President Alfred Bloom [dated Dec. 20, 2000], a copy of which was provided to the Valley News last month, Furstenberg praised Bloom’s decision to drop football from the Swarthmore athletic program.

“I am writing to commend you on the decision to eliminate football from your athletic offerings. Other institutions would do well to follow your lead. I know you’ve heard a lot of criticism about this decision, but I, for one, support this change,” wrote Furstenberg.

“You are exactly right in asserting that football programs represent a sacrifice to the academic quality and diversity of entering first-year classes. This is particularly true at highly selective institutions that aspire to academic excellence. My experience at both Wesleyan and Dartmouth is consistent with what you have observed at Swarthmore.

“I wish this were not true but sadly football, and the culture that surrounds it, is antithetical to the academic mission of colleges such as ours. This is really a national problem and it is a good thing that you are taking leadership on the issue. A close examination of intercollegiate athletics within the Ivy League would point to other sports in which the same phenomenon is apparent.”