I am surprised that the number of athletic applications did not increase over 18 years. I question that. If total applications have incresed multi fold over 18 years, how could athletic applications not have increased?

from the crimson
By Ivy League Conference rules, recruited athletes are placed on a 240-point Academic Index, which is calculated based on GPA and standardized test scores. While the minimum score required for Ivy League admissions is 176, the average Academic Index for recruited athletes cannot be more than one standard deviation below the index of the previous four freshmen classes.

At Harvard, the student body index is roughly 220—approximately equivalent to a SAT score of 2200 and near 4.0 GPA, according to a 2014 Crimson report. Students who walk-on to teams are not included in the Athletic Department’s estimate.

Coaches cannot guarantee admissions spots to prospective student-athletes, whose applications must be vetted by the full 40-member admissions committee. Recruited athletes who pass this process will receive a ‘likely letter,’ indicating the applicant is likely to be admitted by the University.

Arcidiacono noted that athletes with an academic rating of 1 or 2 on Harvard’s scale of 1 to 6—with 1 being the highest and 6 the lowest—had a markedly higher admit rate than non-athletes with the same academic scores. For example, Arcidiacono noted that recruited athletes with an academic rating of 4 had an acceptance rate of 70.46 percent, nearly a thousand times greater than the 0.076 percent admit rate for non-athletes with the same academic rating.

The two researchers that analyzed the data, commented that athletics could be considered a factor -- like good team player, just as they gave a score break for first time college kids in low income zones. The 4 level scores mentioned were very similar for some minority admits that were first time college.