Posts Tagged John Feinstein Jr.
Several weeks back, while listening to a podcast of Tony Kornheiser‘s radio show on ESPN 980 , I heard Kornheiser talk to Washington Post sports reporter Kathy Orton discussing her new book, Outside the Limelight: Basketball in the Ivy League. Two topics like academics and sports intersecting caught my attention immediately. I was fortunate enough to get in contact with Orton and email interview her about the book. Before jumping into the interview, here’s the basic info on the book: “The Ivy League is a place where basketball is neither a pastime nor a profession. Instead, it inspires true passion among players, coaches, and fans who share in its every success and setback. Outside the Limelight is the first book to look inside Ivy League basketball at what makes it unique.”
Tim O’Shea: How different is the recruiting process for players in the Ivy League–do the coaches find themselves needing to focus more upon the academics of their students in terms of finding good recruits?
Kathy Orton: While it is a challenge for Ivy League coaches to find good students with equally good jump shots, I believe the more difficult hurdle for the coaches is finding players with those attributes who also can afford an Ivy League school. It can cost upward of $50,000 a year to attend one of these schools. Because of the costs associated with these schools – remember there is no athletic scholarships in the Ivy League – many middle class kids (and their parents) just can’t justify paying that much money to play basketball when they can go for free to another school. The economic aspects limit the recruiting pool far more than the academic standards.
O’Shea: Given that these Ivy League athletes feel the need to excel as much in the classroom as well much as on the court, what kind of stress level are they under during the season?
Orton: I didn’t fully appreciate the demands on an Ivy League basketball player until I started reporting the book. To begin with, Ivy League schools are extremely competitive, pressure-filled environments for all students. Throw in a Division I sport such as basketball, where you spend close to five hours a day in a gym practicing, watch game film and lifting weights, not to mention the travel to away games (on busses, not charter airplanes), and there’s not a lot of time left over for sleep. I find these kids amazing, and studies have shown because of how they have to excel at time management during college they tend to do better than their peers once they leave school.