Texas A&M students petition for affirmative action for athletic teams

This video could have used a few more voices — and the audio is a little patchy in spots — but it makes the point effectively: Some of the same people who support affirmative action when it is applied to the university admissions process don’t support it when it is applied to the athletics recruiting process.

Presumably, supporters of affirmative action for academics but not athletics would say something like, “Everybody has a right to an education whereas everybody doesn’t have a right to play college sports.” Why — and why not?

On a related note, the admissions process at most schools unfairly favors athletes. If a kid is going to be an asset to the football team or the golf team or the lacrosse team, for example, the school doesn’t really care if his SAT score is a little low or his G.P.A. is a disgrace. Athletic ability trumps academic qualifications (or disqualifications) in many instances. How is that fair to the student who does meet the academic criteria for admission to a school but who is passed over for an athlete who doesn’t?

As I see it, there are two ways to deal with the issue of unfair admissions processes. One would be to rigorously root out all non-academic considerations for admissions. That includes personality, musical talent, athletic talent, legacy status, parents’ ability to donate to the school, etc., etc., etc.

The other would be to acknowledge that the admissions process will always be subjective — and to stop unduly elevating the importance of the B.A. to lifelong success.

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