Harvard Cheating Scandal: An Isolated Academic Problem, Not Another UNC

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Academic fraud appears to be all the rage in college athletics, so much so that even the Ivy League is joining in on the act.

Harvard senior co-captain Kyle Casey is withdrawing from the school after being implicated in an expansive academic cheating scandal, SI’s Luke Winn first reported. Casey is withdrawing from the college before the fall registration deadline in hopes of preserving his final year of eligibility in the event that he transfers elsewhere or is readmitted to the school. The versatile forward who led the Crimson in scoring last season will miss the entire 2012-13 campaign.

Jan. 3, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Harvard Crimson forward Kyle Casey (30) goes up for a basket as Fordham Rams guard Alberto Estwick (21) defends during the first half at Rose Hill Gym. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Fellow senior co-captain Brandyn Curry is expected to withdraw from the university as well. Curry, the Crimson’s starting point guard, was implicated in the scandal along with one other unnamed basketball player, whose role in the scandal is still under investigation.

As the two most distinguished faces linked to the fraud, Casey and Curry will divert a lot of attention in this case away from the central issue at-hand. Inevitably, many readers will mistake this case as an isolated basketball matter, another instance of Division 1 schools pandering to the base needs of student-athletes. Although such behavior is prevalent across the scope of national universities that boast high-profile athletics programs, it is of no consequence to this Harvard case.

The Harvard scandal, rather, underscores an academic pandemic, one to which even the sanctimonious Ivy League is not immune. Ivy League schools, littered with highbrows who will stop at nothing to procure success, are in fact some of the biggest culprits of all.

Casey and Curry, bear in mind, were just two of 125 students accused of cheating on a take-home final exam in the course: Introduction to Congress. Of those 125 students accused of allegations ranging from inappropriate collaboration to full-bore plagiarism, all but a handful were non-athletes.

This is not a North Carolina case redux.  A roguish head of a sham department did not introduce faux courses, of which an appreciable percentage of prominent student-athletes, including the majority of the 2005 men’s basketball championship team, took part.

This is a case of grades-minded, GPA-deranged Harvard students—scores of them, in fact—sensing an opportunity to pounce on an easy “A.” A few members of the men’s basketball team just so happened to be involved.

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