Following National Letter of Intent Signing Day Wednesday, the Board of Visitors Committee on Athletics discussed the statistics regarding the student recruits for the Class of 2018.
While Athletic Director Terry Driscoll announced that 15 athletes signed with the College Wednesday, conversation centered on the 139 athletic recruits and the possibility of recruited athletes graduating high school early and enrolling in the College of William and Mary in January.
One of the most discussed demographic numbers at the meeting was the minority percentage, representing about 22 percent of the 139 recruited athletes. As of Nov. 17, 11 percent identified as African American, 7 percent as Hispanic and 4 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander. There are five first-generation recruited student athletes.
“When I first arrived here, I believe our overall diversity percentage was about 11 percent, and it was a great deal of African American [recruits],” Driscoll said.
While the percentages represent an overall increase since Driscoll joined the College, the athletic director stated that locational shifting of some sports, specifically baseball, affects the College’s recruitment of minority students.
“What we’ve was that the baseball pool of student athletes … once [had] a very strong African American component. … [Now], baseball fields in urban areas are going away … and so people have been gravitating to more popular sports, which are basketball and football,” Driscoll said.
Another nationwide phenomenon affecting athletic recruitment is adolescent focus in one sport rather than three or four, according to Driscoll.
“Kids are making choices earlier and earlier and not playing three and four sports. … The vast majority of these individuals are focusing much earlier on,” Driscoll said.
Driscoll highlighted a number of other statistics with the incoming recruits, such as the fact that 62 of the 139 recruits are from the commonwealth of Virginia.
“We actually try to get as many in-state students as we can, not only for a balance, but also for finances,” Driscoll said.
Of the 139 enrolling student athlete recruits, 60 are female and 79 are male. The middle 50 percent of SAT scores is 1110-1320. The overall class profile is 1270-1460.
Discussion of athlete recruitment prompted College Rector Todd Stottlemyer ’85 to ask about the recent recruitment by the University of Virginia of two student athletes who “green shirted,” meaning they graduated early from high school and will begin their academics at U.Va. in the spring before beginning football in the fall.
“We do not green shirt here. … The College feels that the orientation experience is critically important. … They want that incoming freshman to get that full orientation experience,” Driscoll said.
Members said that the College’s admissions and academics departments do not accept students who graduate high school a semester early, preferring them to begin in the fall with their freshman class.
While green shirting is not in place at the College and while there are no statistics on the use of this policy according to Driscoll, Driscoll said he believes that most schools allow the policy, aside from those in the Patriot League and the Ivy League.
Stottlemyer brought up the academic transition benefits of green shirting, as it allows athletes to acclimate to College life before starting their respective sports in the fall. Driscoll and other members of the athletic department said that the Summer Bridge Program works with students the department feels will benefit from the additional transitional help.
Committee Chair Peter Snyder ’94 said that while the admissions policy may not currently allow green shirting, it is an avenue worth exploring.