Harvard Senior Athletes Applying to Graduate Programs

Let’s just say we wouldn’t be surprised if a few top Harvard senior basketball players and football players were enrolled in Harvard graduate programs next year (photo credit: Chensiyuan)

Can a current Harvard senior athlete who wasn’t able to play tennis this year due to the pandemic compete for Harvard’s team next year as a graduate student? The answer is yes. Ivy League senior athletes who were not able to compete this past year in their respective sports due to the cancelation of Ivy League athletics on account of the pandemic will be able to complete their eligibility as graduate students at their institutions. But, of course, this requires the athletes apply to — and earn admission to — such graduate programs. So are these institutions streamlining the process for athletes so they can complete their athletic eligibility with their current teams?

As Benjamin L. Fu writes for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Following Ivy League Policy Shift, Harvard Athletics Helps Athletes Navigate Grad School Admissions Process,” “In light of the Ivy League’s sudden policy change allowing senior student athletes to compete next year at their respective universities as graduate students, Harvard Athletics is supporting interested athletes by answering informational questions and writing recommendation letters, according to Harvard Athletics Director Erin McDermott…Notably, the decision came at a time when many Harvard and Ivy League graduate programs’ application deadlines had already passed. University President Lawrence S. Bacow signaled in a webinar with student athletes last week that Harvard’s graduate programs will not extend their deadlines for senior athletes in light of the League’s new policy. McDermott said in an interview last week that members of her department ‘haven’t had conversations’ with the University’s graduate programs regarding athletes’ admissions into their schools. Rather, McDermott said Harvard Athletics is helping a ‘handful’ of students who have expressed interest in using the waiver by offering advice and providing written support through normal admissions channels.”

Uh huh. Harvard’s PR spin calls for a translation. And so we wish to offer our interpretation of the words of Harvard’s athletics director: “If you’re a rower or a swimmer or a squash player, we’re not going to be pushing too hard for you to line up your graduate school plans here at Harvard. If you’re a top Harvard basketball player or a top football player, yes, we’ll pull some strings where we can. If you want an MBA, we’ll give the dean of HBS a ring. A master’s in philosophy? We’ll make a call.” But, hey, that’s just our interpretation of the words of Harvard’s AD. Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting below. We look forward to hearing from you!

 
 

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1 Comment

  • Matt Toobin says:

    You are right, but its not just the Ivy League now, it is everywhere. And I think many more grads will be more interested in focusing on their athletic careers rather than their academic ones. Remember, these kids are good players and the pros do look at these Division 1 leagues in these respective sports. Why not give your dream a try? Many solid Ivy League Grads are now playing for other leagues. Kentucky Football had an Ivy League punter or kicker a year or two ago. And top LAC Richmond with their Division 1 Baseball program now has 2 Ivy League grads (from Cornell and Brown) on its roster. I think this trend will continue among all schools and leagues. The Ivies are just following a trend. And with Ivy League degree in hand, let’s do fun and sports for a year rather than a serious course of study. But, if a lesser student can squeak into Harvard Business School or Harvard Law School via their coach? Well, then that is a different story altogether.

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