The Atlantic

College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students

Athletes are often held to a lower standard by admissions officers, and in the Ivy League, 65 percent of players are white.
Source: Jessica Hill / AP

Quick, think of a college athlete. Chances are the person who comes to mind is a football or basketball player at a powerhouse Division I school like Louisiana State University or the University of Kentucky. Maybe the player resembles, say, Joel Embiid, who turned a chiseled, 7-foot frame into a full-ride scholarship at the University of Kansas before ascending to NBA stardom.

But the typical student athlete looks a lot more like Matteo DiMayorca, a Harvard junior recruited to play offensive tackle on the college’s football team. DiMayorca isn’t angling for a future career in the NFL, and after a nagging string of knee injuries, he’s transitioned into a managerial role on the team. He has been playing football since the fourth grade, but he says he only seriously started considering playing in college as a junior in high school. “With the help of my parents,” DiMayorca says, “I put together a highlight tape, sent out emails, and reached out to a couple of coaches.” That summer, he attended football camps put on by colleges to

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