Special treatment or treated special?

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Whether students or student athletes, prospective students undergo the same admissions process. Photo courtesy of UDallas Athletics.

Recently, there have been frequent discussions revolving around the admissions process for student athletes at the University of Dallas. However, after investigation, it is apparent that prospective student athletes are treated the same as non-athletes, with a few minor exceptions. 

According to the varying experiences of prospective students and particularly freshmen, some students have observed that it seems that prospective student-athletes go through a different admissions process than regular undergraduates. 

As a Division III school, UD is barred by the NCAA from giving out any kind of athletic scholarship to athletes. Though some other Division III schools have found loopholes around this rule, UD does not participate in such underhanded methods. 

Yet that does not stop people from seeing bias where there is none.  Many undergraduates still wonder if student athletes are presented with a different version of campus than the rest of the student body.

Christopher Conaty, the sports recruiter, said: “Recruits do not go through any special process. Per NCAA Division III rules, there is no special process or extra weight given toward prospective student-athletes. Prospective student-athletes are subject to the same admission and academic standards, housing policies and support services as the general student body.”

Though Conaty has stated athletes get no preferential treatment, they do spend more time with coaches and often have lunch with their potential future teammates.

Rose Wingert, junior English major and student ambassador, said: “As a student ambassador, I do not feel like a prospective athlete gets special treatment on tours compared to other visiting students. The only difference, that I know of, is prospective athletes meet with the coaches during their visit, and they may have lunch with the coach instead of one of the student workers.”

Conaty maintains the only difference seems to be the approach each coach takes in how they want to recruit each prospective athlete. 

“The process of recruiting is different for every sport and depends on how coaches want to recruit for their own program. The various sports all operate on different recruiting timelines so the process is different for each,” Conaty said. “In general, coaches will identify prospects who they believe will be great fits for [the] University of Dallas and for their programs and then contact these prospective student-athletes with information about the university.”

That contact with athletes sometimes culminates in the coach leading the campus tour in tandem with the office of admissions. Potential student athletes can be paired with an undergraduate student ambassador or a current undergraduate athlete in their prospective sport. 

Athletes get no special treatment; they, like every other undergraduate, must maintain a high GPA. UD’s average incoming GPA is a 3.9, SAT is 1235 and ACT is 26, according to Prepscholar.

Wingert explained what usually happens when a prospective athlete tours the school, saying: “The tours I give to prospective athletes are the exact same as the ones I give to other students. We might spend more time in the gym, but that is because they usually have questions about it or want to see the basketball court more closely. If any other student asks to see the basketball court closer, I let them, but they usually do not have any interest.” 

In conclusion, prospective student athletes do not receive a different campus tour or experience a unique admissions process; in fact, they are just regular undergraduates obtaining information about UD. 

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