Bill Pennington, of the New York Times wrote a very interesting piece about the Academic Index, a somewhat mysterious tool used by Ivy League institutions (and numerous other colleges and universities) to measure the basic academic qualifications of recruited athletes.
According to the article formulas, first created in the 1980s and never disclosed publicly by the institutions themselves, assign each recruit a number based on his or her standardized tests scores and high school grade point average. An example of the methodology is provided.
According to Pennington’s research, Ivy League institutions agreed to focus on athletic recruits with an Academic Index of no lower than a 176, which roughly translates to a B average and a combined score of 1140 on the Critical Reading and Math portions of the SAT exam. While exceptions are occasionally made, they represent a very small number of applicants chosen from preferred recruit lists compiled by hundreds of coaches. According to the article, the vast majority of recruited athletes have index numbers well above 200 which corresponds to an A-minus average and a combined 1300 score on the Critical Reading and Math SAT.
Learning about the AI can be of interest to athletes and non-athletes applying to the Ivies and other colleges. The article is available through The New York Times website: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/ivy-academic-index/