Amherst College announced last Wednesday that it would be eliminating legacy admission preference in an effort to create more space for athletic recruits. “Legacy students currently account for 11 percent of each class,” the college wrote in a press release. “Due to the removal of legacy preference, we’re hoping an extra 11 percent of next year’s incoming class will be comprised of much-needed quarterbacks, power forwards and center fielders.”
The press release stated that the policy will increase the number of reserved admission spots each sports team is allotted, furthering Amherst’s mission of “enrolling talented, energetic and diverse student-athletes.” President Biddy Martin emphasized the importance of student-athletes at Amherst: “The success of our lacrosse team is integral to our campus community and our overall mission as an institution. This change in admissions preference will ensure that our lacrosse team can recruit a lineup of superior athletes to take Amherst to NESCAC Championship glory.” The college added that with the increased latitude for athletic recruits, it would consider creating varsity equestrian, handball and quidditch teams.
“Expanding athletic preference will allow our admission office to better blur the line between qualified and unqualified candidates,” Martin noted. Martin, an avid equestrian fan, has said that she has had her eye on a talented rider for over a year now. “Now, I won’t have to worry about this rider’s test scores or GPA and can focus exclusively on her performance in Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences,” Martin concluded.
Students responded to this change by sharing the college’s announcement to their Instagram story and then promptly forgetting about it the next day. “I was so proud of Amherst for doing whatever they did with admissions, um, about the legacy and stuff,” said Carl Folger ’23. Prominent news outlets like NBC and the New York Times also covered Amherst’s change to their admissions policy: “Ending legacy admissions preference serves as an important reminder that as hard as colleges try to make admissions more fair, they can never take down the glorious social construct we call organized sport,” said NBC anchor Zinhle Essamuah.