Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

Brains, Brawn, and Financial Aid

Sun Sports Editor Josh Perlin is running an outstanding article on the role that aggressive financial aid policies by Harvard and others is playing in Cornell's own athletics programs:

Cornell is losing athletic recruits to other Ivies at a record rate, primarily due to large discrepancies in financial aid, according to information obtained by The Sun. Cornell coaches and Director of Athletics Andy Noel confirmed an abnormal, widespread loss of recruits in this year's class, and that non-competitive financial aid packages compared to all the Ivies not just Harvard, Yale or Princeton appeared to be the biggest reason.

A number of cases across men's and women's teams were confirmed where differences in aid packages between Cornell and other Ivies amounted to tens of thousands of dollars per year. Noel stated that the information obtained by The Sun was not a series of atypical cases, and that significant discrepancies have come up across a majority of Cornell's 36 athletics teams this year.

"This is a problem that's not isolated to specific sports," Noel said. "Without a doubt, there are multiple situations across multiple teams where recruits are being offered financial aid packages at other Ivies that are not allowable by our policies."

Perlin's article today is the first of three parts, and we're eagerly waiting to read the rest.

While we suspect that financial aid packages will have a sizable impact on parity within Ivy League athletics going forward, recent history suggests that Cornell's relatively weak financial position hasn't affected the caliber of its athletic programs within the Ivy League yet. And in truth, financial aid may not matter as much as coaching, support from the administration, and facilities.

In fact, the last couple of years seem to have been a bona fide golden age for Cornell sports. Within the Ivy League, there have always been two perennial powers capturing a disproportionate amount of Ivy titles across all sports -- Harvard and Princeton. But Cornell appears to have made strides in recent years:

Note: This graph is based on statistics I quickly compiled from IvyLeagueSports.com. It shouldn't be considered to be completely accurate. If anybody has a more definitive source of data, please let me know.

Of course, the increasingly competitive nature of need-based financial aid programs is impacting Cornell's admissions pool far beyond athletics. The same implications for varsity athletes can be made for all students.

And due to Cornell's relatively weak financial standing when compared to the rest of the Ivy League, combined with the Ivy group's strict policy forbidding any sort of merit aid, Cornell is really being placed between a rock and a hard place.

Why? Because our Ivy peers are able to offer superior need-based financial aid. And our non-Ivy peers are able to offer merit-based aid for both athletics and standout students.

For instance, Northwestern just started a merit-based aid program and Washington University in St. Louis is famous for providing merit based aid to top students. Meanwhile, places like Duke and Johns Hopkins offer athletic scholarships in sports like lacrosse, whereas Cornell does not.

The one factor that works in Cornell's favor, however, is that the admissions process for Cornell tends to be a bit less competitive than the admissions process at some of the other Ivies. This means that we might be able to cast a larger net and recruit farther down the academic spectrum for athletes. But then there are always the anecdotes about Penn recruiting the basketball player or Harvard recruiting the football player with sub-1100 SAT scores.

That being said, this Yale Herald piece does an excellent job describing how the league regulates the recruitment of athletes, and the net effect doesn't seem to be that large. After all, if it did have an impact, maybe Cornell would have had a more successful football team in recent years.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on February 19, 2008 (#)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)