Harvard Cheating Scandal is Newest Blemish on College Athletics

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September 12, 2012 by kujhawk

The Harvard College Administrative Board is currently investigating whether as many as 125 students, including two senior basketball players, shared answers or cheated in some form on an open-book, take-home final exam for a class, reportedly “Introduction to Congress.”

Wait…what?

What is the world coming to?

Harvard? Really?

Come on. Harvard? You have to be kidding me?  I thought you were above this sort of thing? You know, the whole putting athletes in easy classes to help them stay eligible thing. The whole, giving student athletes “tutors” to help them with homework and study. I thought that was reserved for the big boys? The Ohio states and Miamis of the world. The USCs and Floridas. Not good ole Harvard. We have all done the thing where instead of saying “Harvard” you say “Haaaaarrrrvard” with the stuck-up sounding accent. We do it because Harvard is practically perfect. It is a institution know world-wide for its academic excellence. Not its athletes.

Casey could re-enroll next year and have one more year of eligibility left at Harvard.

I understand, this incident is bigger than the two basketball players who have been implicated in this cheating scandal on the take home test. But that is a big reason why this is making so much news. You aren’t hearing about Sally or John the poli-sci majors who were part of the 125 people suspected of cheating. No, we get, “125 Harvard students including basketball players Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry.” For a historical institution of higher learning such as Harvard, this is a shocking event. Not just the cheating, but the involvement of student athletes.

One might have seen something like this coming. Harvard has not been the poster boy for athletic success in the past 50 or so years in the top revenue sports like football and basketball. But all of a sudden, the Crimson have flourished. They won the Ivy League football title last season, and earned their first NCAA tournament berth in basketball in 46 years. Those are some great accomplishments, especially the second one. But that makes me wonder, where did it come from? How did Harvard all of a sudden get players who could not only shoot a basketball well, but also perform so well in the classroom?

I think this scandal tells us why. They were cheating. This class was probably as close as you can get to a “blow off” class at Harvard. We do not know the full extent of this investigation or if there is any other evidence of academic fraud in the basketball program. But I can assure you that Harvard administrators will not stand for something like this.

“”It really is a University matter and the athletic department is just one component of the University,” Harvard sports information director Kurt Svoboda said on Wednesday. “I cannot speculate on how this recent news might affect any University program or department.”

That is code for, “we will find out who orchestrated this, and they will be gone.”

You have to immediately wonder if Harvard was making academic concessions to top athletes at the university to help improve their competitiveness in top revenue grossing sports.

“These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends,” President Drew Faust said last week.

“Veritas” meaning truth, is what is on Harvard’s crest; a far cry from the current situation at the university.

Sports Illustrated and ESPN have reported that Casey and Curry – last year’s co-captains – will be withdrawing from school to try and save their last year of eligibility. A smart move, but one that makes the situation seem more incriminating. NCAA rules would prohibit the two from playing this year, but they could enroll at another institution or possibly back at Harvard and play next season.

This scandal has made academic honesty and integrity a larger-than-usual topic for students and faculty – a topic that usually goes without saying. The Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, acquired an email from John Ellison, a member of Harvard’s Ad Board, the disciplinary board for the university.  The email advised athletes to weigh any Ivy League eligibility issues before deciding to stay on campus for fall classes.

“Fall-term athletes may also want to consider taking (a leave) before their first game,” Ellison wrote, according to the Crimson.

Well Mr. Ellison, thank you for opening the door for student athletes to retain eligibility even though they probably deserve not to because of poor grades. Veritas is the word on Harvard’s crest. It means truth. But after the events of these last couple of weeks, Harvard’s new motto could be, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

If you would like to email me about anything I’ve written, you can do so by emailing me at misterbar333@yahoo.com or contact me on twitter @Ev_Dunbar. I would love feedback and advice on what I can do better or what I should be doing more or less of!

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