RIP “Quantity vs. Quality” Recruitment Myth

ESPN reported today that Butler’s men’s basketball team earned top honors among this year’s Final Four contenders:

On Tuesday, the NCAA released its list of academic overachievers, and Butler was the only team among those that reached this year’s championship round in Division I football, men’s basketball or women’s basketball.

Butler head coach and class act Brad Stevens (an Alpha Tau Omega) explained why excelling in the classroom is merely a basic expectation:

“To be real candid, that’s an expectation of mine, so we’re not going to do cartwheels or shoot fireworks because this is something we achieved,” coach Brad Stevens said after the release. “That’s an expectation and that’s what we’re going to strive to do. I’m proud of our guys, but they came to Butler to do well in the classroom, on the court and in the community, and that’s what we expect.

Butler could have repeated their version of the we-go-for-quality-not-quantity narrative (e.g. “we can only recruit athletes OR scholars, not both”), but they didn’t. Excellent basketball programs–and excellent chapters–don’t make excuses, and certainly not the quantity vs. quality excuse.

High performing groups embrace what Jim Collins famously called the “genius of the AND” over the “tyranny of the OR.”

Look at our most successful chapters: they earn top GPA rankings AND win intramural champions; their chapter size is double the average AND each member outperforms his non-Greek counterpart in the classroom; they are the most respected group on campus AND they actively confront hazing.

It starts with an attitude–the realization that it’s possible for quality and quantity to increase in tandem. There are too many counterexamples to believe otherwise.


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