The Cult of Rich-Kid Sports


On Tuesday, a federal judge held that Harvard’s admissions policy does not violate the Civil Rights Act. In the ruling, which could be overturned on appeal, the judge rejected claims that the university broke the law by creating a higher standard for Asian American applicants.

But a new paper by several economists, including one directly involved in the trial, provides stark evidence that Harvard does give preferential treatment to affluent white applicants through legacy preferences and sports recruitment.


At a time when youth sport participation is stratifying by income, one could argue that even soccer fields have become the domain of the upper-middle class and above. But true rich-kid sports include water polo, squash, crew, lacrosse, and skiing. One does not simply fall into the river and come out a water-polo star, and no downhill-slalom champions casually roam the halls of low-income high schools. These sports often require formal training, expensive equipment, and upscale facilities. No wonder they are dominated by affluent young players.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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