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Archive for October 21, 2019

Oct. 21, 2019 — Varsity verification

It was mid-March when first word of college admissions irregularities started hitting the newspapers.

The gyre has widened to encapsulate a number of universities, such as Southern Cal, Yale, Wake Forest, and Georgetown. Some 51 people have been indicted on federal charges, and about half have already reached plea deals.

Oddly enough, it is one of the universities not involved in the Varsity Blues scandal which has become one of the first to institute reforms.

That school is Harvard, which has the most varsity athletic programs. One of the programs, its fencing team, had its own controversy when head coach Peter Brand is alleged to have sold his house — at a considerable markup — to the family of a potential recruit.

Harvard has now put in writing that coaches looking to admit a student-athlete provide proof of an applicant’s athletic ability for use by admissions officers. Presumably, a lot of that is done already through highlight videos which are often peddled by video companies which attend national tournaments in many sports.

But there’s one thing that I think will have the most lasting impact. That is the fact that Harvard coaches are now required to take conflict-of-interest training. This kind of training is very much a no-brainer for employees in many businesses and government organizations.

And the fact that it has taken this long for the most prestigious university in the country to start implementing conflict-of-interest training is, well, stupefying.