|The Other U.S. News College Rankings|
In March the athletic department received an unexpected burst of national recognition when it was named to U.S. News & World Report's first annual honor roll of the country's top twenty collegiate athletic programs. The magazine compiled the list as part of its March 18 twenty-one-page special report on college sports. The staff surveyed 2000-01 academic-year data for 321 NCAA Division I schools and rated them in five categories: win/loss records, gender equity, number of sports offered, graduation rate, and lack of major sanctions or probation over the past ten years.
Athletic Director David Roach wasn't aware the project was under way but was delighted by Brown's high ranking. "I was very much surprised," he says. "It's terrific. The article gives us credibility in terms of running a Division I athletic program. This says a lot about what our staff, coaches, and student-athletes have been able to achieve through hard work." Also on the honor roll were Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton, as well as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Boston College, Georgetown, Connecticut, Villanova, Penn State, Illinois, Michigan, Duke, Maryland, Lehigh, Stanford, Utah, and Hawaii.
U.S. News staffers Gordon Witkin and Jodi Schneider, writing in the special report's introduction, noted that "college sports are not just about wins and losses and the big-money programs," so the magazine sought to "assess the depth, breadth, and integrity of university athletic programs in Division I." Among the many charts accompanying the special report was one listing of schools offering the most and the least varsity sports. With thirty-seven sports offered, Brown and Ohio State tied for third nationally. (Brown has twenty women's varsity teams and seventeen men's varsity squads.) Harvard was first, with forty-one, followed by Princeton, with thirty-eight.
Roach was particularly pleased that win-loss records were part of the criteria for the honor roll. "This shows we are doing more than just offering a lot of sports," he says. "It shows our coaches and players are doing a nice job. You want to be known for running a balanced, diverse program, but you also want to be known for running a successful one."
Scott Cole is a writer in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.