Without fancy facilities, how does Athletics sell Bates to recruits?
Over the last few years Bates has become an increasingly popular school to attend. The acceptance rate has dropped from 22.6 percent in 2016 to 12.1 percent in 2019, and it has risen in college rankings on sites such as US News & World Report.
Some of the sports teams at Bates have seen coaching changes with immediate improvement. This raises the question–what would attract a recruit to come to Bates?
The NESCAC is an insanely competitive conference. Most other schools have large, sprawling athletic centers with state of the art fitness centers and other various facilities.
Bates is home to some excellent facilities, but there isn’t the same massive athletic complex like the Freeman Athletic Center at Wesleyan or the Virtue Field House at Middlebury.
So what’s the selling point? What’s the secret behind the Bobcats’ success?
“I knew that I wanted to come to a place where the coaches understand the pressures that come with being a student a high academic institution,” said senior football player Peter Daley ’20. “At Bates it feels like the coaches want to win just as much as we do and they’re on our side academically, too.”
Bates also has the advantage of being a test optional school. This can have a huge impact on who the coaches are able to recruit. Senior football captain Jon Lindgren ’20 believes that this gives us a huge leg up.
“We all know about the fundamental issues with standardized tests like the SAT and ACT and it’s crazy that schools still require kids to submit those,” stated Lindgren. “The admissions results speak for themselves…we’re still getting great kids and we aren’t losing the ones who didn’t score as well on a random test.”
While there are a few other NESCAC schools that have also gone test optional, several are still behind and are potentially eliminating qualified applicants and recruits for arbitrary reasons.
The coaches at Bates are in an interesting position as well. Bates has the draw of being an elite, liberal arts institution, but it is in a loaded conference. “If we can’t use our facilities as a tool then it pretty much just comes down to commitment to winning and overall success,” added senior baseball captain Jack Arend ’20.
The Bobcat teams are seeing success and that is perhaps the biggest recruiting tool of them all.
“I know that for my sport in particular kids choose between here and Colby a lot and Colby has a nice turf field that they just put in. The thing is they still usually choose us because of our recent success and the culture that Coach Martin is creating,” commented Arend.
Nothing speaks louder than success, and that is the direction that this program is headed in. Bates attracts students who are prepared for the having to utilize everything at their disposal to get their work in and get better.
When you see the baseball team practicing on the field hockey turf in the snow or the soccer team using a hockey rink as an indoor area you realize the dedication it takes to be able to compete at this level.
Recruits like to see the fancy equipment and the enormous gyms, but Bates proudly advertises the adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. If you step on campus and meet the people it can completely change what you see.