Cheating Scandal Rocks Harvard Crimson
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
How does the old saying go? If you want to dance with the devil, you’re eventually going to get burned!
This may very well describe what is going on at Harvard right now where approximately 125 students are being investigated for an academic cheating scandal. Many of them are said to be student-athletes.
According to multiple reports, Harvard men’s basketball captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry are two of the student-athletes involved. Those reports also claim that both are expected to withdraw from school and will miss the upcoming season. Apparently their decision to withdraw is a calculated one whereby they would still have a chance to retain their final year of eligibility.
What’s interesting about this story is the fact that Harvard is coming off of its first outright Ivy League championship in the sport of men’s basketball, an accomplishment that was very much expected after the school hired Tommy Amaker to be their head coach in 2007.
Many believed that the university made a conscious decision to be good in the sport of men’s college basketball 5 years ago, a program that was the only one of the eight Ivy League schools to have never won an Ivy title in that sport.
As part of the university’s decision to field a much stronger men’s basketball program, they hired the high profile Amaker and, some say, compromised or lowered their standards in recruiting for that sport to bring in more talented recruits.
Ironically, Harvard was found to have committed what have been labeled secondary recruiting violations almost immediately upon Amaker’s arrival in Cambridge. It was reported that current assistant coach Kenny Blakeney provided “improper recruiting assistance” to members of the Harvard coaching staff in the summer of 2007 after meeting with two potential recruits in Keith Wright and Max Kenyi.
The story was revealed in a 2008 New York Time story which alleged diminished academic standards among Amaker’s first recruiting class as well as the aforementioned recruiting violations.
Harvard accepted recruiting restrictions for the 2010-2011 season as a result of the “secondary recruiting violations.” It was the first time that the men’s basketball program had ever been penalized by the NCAA.
Meanwhile, on the floor, Harvard continued to build not just an Ivy League power, but a program that could compete on the national level. Under Amaker, the program has enjoyed wins over schools like Michigan, Boston College and Florida State. Their victories over the Eagles and Seminoles were their first-ever wins against nationally ranked opponents.
Last season, Harvard basketball made its first ever appearance in the top 25 rankings in both the AP and Coaches polls.
If the program’s rise to prominence seemed like a case of too much, too fast, that’s because it probably was. And now, they find themselves in the midst of yet another scandal.
Singling out the men’s basketball program may not be entirely fair in this particular case because there are said to be many student-athletes involved in this alleged cheating scandal including, according to once report, about a dozen members of Tim Murphy’s football program.
While Harvard football has not been the subject of any recent NCAA investigations, they have been the Ivy League’s dominant football program over the last decade leaving many to wonder if the university has also compromised its usually high admissions standards in order to excel in that sport as well.
The big question is: what will Harvard do once the dust settles and the smoke clears from this alleged cheating scandal? Will they continue on as if nothing had ever happened or will they raise their standards for incoming student-athletes as many believe they did years ago?
Ironically, the Brown University football team will host Harvard in just 11 days in a nationally televised game at Brown Stadium. It will be interesting to see if the Crimson will be without any key starters for that game.
Harvard University’s seal contains the Latin phrase “VE RI TAS.” It means “truth.” It appears that Harvard is now seeking the truth about exactly what happened and who was involved with this alleged cheating scandal, but will they look in the mirror and be truthful about their academic standards for some of their higher profile athletic programs and how they may have been compromised in recent years?
Only time will tell.