Professor Stam on Athletic Recruiting

Government professor Allan Stam wrote a letter to the editor of the Valley News critiquing academia for its loathing for student athletes (the letter is not available on the newspaper website, but Bill Wellstead ’63 published it on his blog). Stam draws on his own experiences as a student athlete–he rowed at Cornell–to explain that athletes may be far better prepared for life than those “collegiate sophists” who engage “pedantic and nitpicking conversations.”

His conclusion:

I’ll take the mediocre athletes over the mediocre poets and navel-gazers any day. I often wonder if the loathsome dismissiveness with which America’s intellectuals view athletes, soldiers, business people and politicians lies in their own insecurities rather than any better sense of judgment they might have than the rest of us.

Dean of admissions Carl Furstenberg caused a controversy on campus when he suggested in a letter, revealed last December, that athletic programs like football “represent a sacrifice to the academic quality and diversity of entering first-year classes.”