Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

32° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Elkin: How sorority recruitment is like NCAA recruiting

This may come as a shock, but I’ve never been recruited to play for a Division I team. Having negligible athletic skills, most of my knowledge of the talent-wooing process comes from any and all iterations of “Friday Night Lights.” Incidentally, I have also never been recruited to join a sorority. Having negligible social skills, most of my knowledge of the girl-flirting process comes from the time I interviewed shivering potential new members in the quad when I was just a wee Daily freshman.

But we love outsiders, right? We can’t get enough of those politicians who shrug off their Brooks Brothers blazers and law degrees to get swing-state crowds all riled up, assuring the throngs that they are the everymen and that the everymen should be calling the shots. So don’t worry. Be soothed by my dearth of first-hand knowledge. Just as I know I could run the crizzap out of this country because I sometimes watch “The Daily Show” and pretend to read The Economist, I know my perusal of CollegeACB and Fitz’s Twitter completely qualifies me to demonstrate the poetic parallels between the athletic and Panhellenic recruiting processes, namely the rules that govern the conversion of promising high school graduates into spanking new Wildcats and sorority girls. Ahem, women.

You see, Panhel and the NCAA are both rather persnickety when it comes to lingo. Both organizations provide recruits with vocabulary lessons, christening them “potential new members” and “prospective student-athletes.” To protect the fledgling members, the organizations scrupulously oversee interactions, dictating when and how often contact can be made and the language of the interactions. Athletes can make “verbal commitments” and PNMs can say, “I really, really like this house,” but the legitimate commitments are made at prescribed moments. In both cases, students cannot accept gifts, though the NCAA might be less stringent than Panhel, most likely letting the occasional napkin slide. And though all this nitpicking seems a bit silly in some cases, it’s there to protect fresh-faced youngsters from making commitments their hearts are not fully invested in.

The sororities, I gather, are something like a conference, operating in the presence of some latent and hopefully good-natured competitive urges. After all, it’s not as if we don’t have friends who go to other Big Ten schools. But we can all get behind one pledge class, the one that will initiate at Ryan Field this coming fall. So, recruitment voyeurs, I encourage all of us to channel whatever interest in status we admit to toward a different but equally esoteric and fascinating recruitment process.

Co-sports editor Ali Elkin is a Medill junior. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Elkin: How sorority recruitment is like NCAA recruiting