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Athletics: There’s Only Upside

Over the last ten days Men’s Soccer and Women’s Rugby won the Ivies (to be fair, Women’s Rugby is not quite a full Ivy sport), Football was within a fumble of beating Harvard (and going on to 10-0), Volleyball has an outside chance at a title, and Women’s Hockey beat Harvard — in short, there are signs that the turnaround is coming to pass that we had hoped to see from Harry Sheehy’s Athletics department. However as Buddy Teevens ‘79 learned to his displeasure, climbing out from a deep hole is tough, and takes much longer than expected. But once you are a contender, then recruiting is infinitely easier (this year’s once-doubted offensive line is proof of that statement), and there are grounds for long-term optimism.

How serious was the mess that Josie Harper (and Jim Wright and Karl Furstenberg) bequeathed to Harry? The Yale Alumni Magazine totaled up the Ivy championships won by Ancient Eight schools over the last decade:

Yale Ivy Trophy Case.jpg

That’s less than two championships per year for the Big Green; if we pull our weight, we should win about five championships each year (4.65 to be exact).

That said, nobody can accuse our varsity players of not being scholar-athletes. We led the nation again this year in the measure known as the Academic Progress Rate (APR):

A total of 1,124 teams from across the NCAA Division I landscape were honored with Public Recognition Awards based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR). The total marks the highest ever in the decade since the NCAA began the program.

Once again, Dartmouth led the way with 26 teams earning recognition, marking the fourth straight year the college has topped the list.

The NCAA’s Public Recognition Awards have now been in existence since 2006 with the Big Green finishing in the top three each of the 10 years the honors have been bestowed. In that time, Dartmouth has a total of 234 awards, more than any other institution while Yale’s 215 rank second.

Each NCAA varsity team is given a score on a scale from 1-1000 (1000 meaning that every individual on that team was academically eligible for the following term and either returned to school or graduated). Individual teams with a score below 925 over a multi-year period are subject to penalties. All of the 28 Dartmouth teams measured were well above the penalty line, with an average score of 999.4. The current report measures enrollment from the academic years 2007-08 through 2013-14.

And we were also ranked first for our Graduation Success Rate (GSR):

The NCAA has released its annual student-athlete graduation rate survey, and Dartmouth College once again has been shown to lead the nation in Graduation Success Rate (GSR). With a GSR of 99 percent for student-athletes who began college in 2008, Dartmouth led Division I institutions for a fourth straight year, tying with Samford for the top spot.

Of the 24 NCAA-sponsored sports at Dartmouth, 19 had a perfect 100 percent GSR, as did the remainder of the non-NCAA-sponsored sports…

The Ivy League also topped the survey for a fifth-straight year, with five of the eight schools among the top 10 and all in the top 25.

Addendum: The mass migration of students and friends of football down to Cambridge for the Harvard game brought back memories. I am told that our fans made more noise at Soldiers Field than the Crimson’s supporters.

Addendum: Men’s Rugby is officially only a club, not a varsity team, so it does not figure in the Ivy Championships count. Shame, that. The men are undefeated in Ivy play again this year, and if they beat equally undefeated Harvard this weekend, they will win their eighth consecutive Ivy title, and fifteenth in the last eighteen years.

The game starts at 1pm on Saturday at the most excellent Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse.


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