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The Dartmouth
May 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hall of Krame: Breaking Down Dartmouth Athletics’ Geographical Diversity

Justin Kramer explores the geographic breakdown of Big Green rosters in this installment of “Hall of Krame.”


Similar to Dartmouth’s general admissions officers, Big Green head coaches often travel and make calls across the U.S. and internationally to attract the best talent they can to the school. But how effective are Big Green varsity programs at recruiting athletes from all over the country and the world? And how do Dartmouth teams differ in the geographical compositions of their rosters? 

Establishing geographical diversity is an explicit nonacademic admissions consideration for the College, as “geographical residence” is listed alongside alumni relation, first-generation status and race/ethnicity among factors “considered” in the admissions process, according to Dartmouth’s 2020-21 Common Data Set. 

Accordingly, Dartmouth has hundreds of students from each of the four Census Bureau-designated regions. Unsurprisingly, however, the College has a disproportionate amount of students from the Northeast. Per data from the Office of Institutional Research on the Class of 2021 through the Class of 2024, about 36.5% of the enrolled student body came from the Northeast, with 19.2% from New England and 17.3% from the Mid-Atlantic division (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). Meanwhile, 21.5% of students in those classes hailed from the South and 19.7% from the West, with 9.6% coming from the Midwest. Another 12.5% were international students or had foreign addresses. 

As a whole, Dartmouth student-athletes largely share a similar regional breakdown, with a slightly smaller presence internationally and from New England, and a slightly larger presence from the South and Midwest. In total, 36.1% come from the Northeast (18.7% from New England and 17.5% from the Mid-Atlantic division), along with 22.3% from the South, 19.4% from the West, 11.2% from the Midwest and 11% from other nations. All athletics data is based on publicly available rosters from the Dartmouth Athletics Department website.

Although the athletic geographical numbers seem closely aligned with the school’s enrollment overall, a deeper look at the numbers reveals that some teams have a much higher proportion of athletes from certain areas than is the norm among the athletic department or for Dartmouth’s overall enrollment.

One discrepancy pops up immediately: 16 of the 33 Dartmouth athletic teams analyzed have a roster with more than 40% Northeasterners, four percentage points above average for the department. For seven of these teams, at least half of their roster hails from the northeast. Men’s squash (77.8%), women’s squash (76.9%), women’s lacrosse (64.7%), men’s swimming and diving (54.5%), men’s cross country (52%), men’s golf (50%), men’s track and field (50%), women’s cross country (48%) and men’s lacrosse (46.5%) top this list.

Some of this northeastern regional skew should come as no surprise. Squash and lacrosse have much larger presences in the Mid-Atlantic and New England census divisions, for example, but it’s still surprising to see how concentrated recruitment is to the Northeast for some of these sports. 

It’s important to note that even within the Northeast region, teams differ in terms of the distribution of athletes hailing from tNew England versus the Mid-Atlantic. Most notably, 45.5% of the women’s ski team is from New England, with almost the entire rest of the team coming from the West (36.4%) or abroad (13.6%). Most of the men’s cross country team also comes from New England while the women’s tennis team recruits more out of the Mid-Atlantic census division. 

How is it that so many teams are far above the 36.1% average in geographical representation from the Northeast?

For seven teams, 20% or less of their roster hails from the Northeast, including warm-weather sports like softball (5.3%) and women’s rugby (15%). Volleyball (5.3%) stands out alongside softball because of its highly disproportionate recruitment from the West (63.2%). Fifteen teams are above the Western varsity athletic average of 19.4%. 

It should come as no surprise that the hockey teams have almost no one from the West, with just one player on either team — Celine Pietraszek ’23, a Colorado native — coming from the region.

The biggest factor, though, in driving down the percentage of Big Green athletes from the Northeast is the football team. Only 4.7% of the roster comes from New England, while 22.7% of the roster hails from the broader Northeast. Instead, the football team recruits heavily from the South (40.6%) and Midwest (21.9%) regions, rates much higher than the averages across Big Green athletics. Given these percentages, it seems those varsity athletics parkas will be put to good use this winter.

The lightweight rowing (39.3%), field hockey (38.1%), baseball (37.5%) and softball (31.6%) teams also have firm presences from the South. Women’s sports such as golf (28.6%), swimming and diving (25%), ice hockey (22.7%) and rugby (20%) all roster athletes from the Midwest at more than double the College’s single-digit rate.

Lastly, although Big Green varsity athletics’ overall percentage of international students (11%) trails the College (12.5%), several teams have a much higher international presence. As one would expect, these sports are prominent on the international and Olympic stages. Six members of the men’s tennis team are international student-athletes, including three from England, while women’s ice hockey (36.3%) and men’s hockey (35.7%) also recruit extensively from the international circuit. Men’s soccer (32.3%) and women’s basketball (26.7%) stand out as well.

On the other hand, neither America’s pastime nor its most popular sport recruit much overseas. The baseball team does not have any international players, while football has just two.

Despite the similarities between the College’s general enrollment totals by region and varsity athletics’ numbers, separately analyzing each team reveals divergent themes across the athletic department. 

Some of these regional skews seem unavoidable: Geographical and climatic differences between regions or socioeconomic regional characteristics play a large role in determining which sports are played where. Moreover, certain sports are more amenable to international recruitment than others because of their popularity on the global stage. However, accounting for these region-specific differences and recruitment resource shortages, it is imperative that coaches recruit from as broad of a talent pool as possible to promote sustained competitiveness across Big Green athletics.