After news of the Varsity Blues scandal broke, we wrote about proactive steps that America’s elite colleges could take going forward so no such scandal ever happens again. One such step we proposed was creating an athletic verification system in which the athletic credentials of recruited athletes could be checked. As an example, if an applicant is a swimmer and the swim coach has flagged him as a breaststroke recruit, his times should be online through USA Swimming’s portal. All one has to do is enter the swimmer’s name and voilà — there are the times. If the swimmer is a breaststroke recruit by certain Ivy League schools and his best time in the 100 yard breast is a 1:08, well, then the admissions office has been deceived because 1:08 isn’t worthy of recruitment in the Ivy League. And while credentials in swimming are more easily verifiable than, say, basketball, every sport is verifiable. In basketball, there are boxscores. If the student averages 2 points and 3 turnovers a game and he’s 5’8, he’s probably not the next starting point guard for any Ivy League institution.
Harvard Will Verify Athletic Recruit Credentials
In the wake of the scandal, some schools like the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University announced that they’ll be reviewing their admissions procedures. And today, as reported by Devin B. Srivastava for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “After Admissions Scandals, Harvard Requires Coaches to Provide Proof of Recruits’ Athletic Abilities,” it’s been announced that Harvard will verify athletic credentials of recruits. As Srivastava writes, “Harvard has implemented new policies — including requiring coaches to provide proof of recruits’ athletic abilities — to prevent fraudulent athletic admissions, according to Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise…The University has implemented two new policies this fall in response to the scandals, according to Scalise. Harvard coaches must now provide materials that admissions officers can later use to verify an applicant’s athletic ability. The Office of General Counsel is also starting regular conflict of interest training for Athletics coaching staff.”
A Salute to Harvard University for Paving the Way
Ivy Coach salutes Harvard University for joining the ranks of schools like the University of California and the University of Southern California, schools that were caught up in the Varsity Blues scandal, that will verify athletic credentials of recruits — recruits who fill a sizable percentage of each Harvard incoming class. As we’ve explained, one need not be a swimmer or a basketball player to be able to figure out if the credentials of these recruits measure up and this is a great way of creating checks and balances. Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that President Ronald Reagan had a way with words. We’ll leave you with a line President Reagan felt so strongly about that he kept it on his Oval Office desk, inscribed in a plaque: “Trust, but verify.” Way to go, Harvard!
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