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Desperate Justice: Varsity Rules for the Rich -Then the Rest of Us

The Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, University of Southern California (USC) campus. – Courtesy photo / Bobak Ha’Eri (CC BY 3.0)

Is there a financial link between sports and education?

By Terry Miller

Last week, a colossal scandal involving ostentatious cheating, bribes and dishonesty made international news when a 204 page indictment came down.

No, this time it wasn’t the White House or any part of that particularly perplexing and egregious ilk. This time, it was about an elaborate college admissions swindle in which over 50 people (including high profile names in athletics, actors and fashion designers) allegedly persuaded people with large suitcases full of cash to ensure places for their offspring in an Ivy League college or other elite university.

According to New York Times reporter Rebecca Halleck, the so –called ground-zero of these devious plots appear to come from one entity known as “Edge College & Career Network” and its masterminded by Mr. Rick Singer.

“At the center of the scandal are the Edge College & Career Network, also known as the Key, and a nonprofit organization, the Key Worldwide Foundation, that prosecutors say effectively were a single enterprise. They are accused of helping students cheat on standardized tests, and paying bribes to athletic coaches who could get the students into college using fake athletic credentials,” Halleck wrote.

On March 12, Singer, 58, pleaded guilty to money laundering, racketeering, obstruction of justice and tax evasion for his role in the scheme, which allegedly involved bribing coaches and paying off SAT exam proctors to get wealthy teenagers seats at high priced, prestigious universities.

Using such highly sophisticated investigative tools as Google, this reporter has discovered that money, in fact, does seem to be at the root of all evil.

Wealthy, high profile people can buy their kids out of a jam and apparently into a college of their choice. That is, until the desperate deeds are discovered as in the case of actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin who allegedly paid many greenbacks to get the green light from colleges.

Money seems to make the world go round and line the ever-swelling thief’s wallet and   then ultimately the lawyers’ coffers. Privilege, power and prosperity can’t buy love anymore because they all get caught, eventually. But, hey, as our Copy Editor Fabiola Diaz pointed out, “to add insult to injury, these people got a tax break on their bribes.”

The sad reality here is that for most of us, we struggle to make ends meet, pay off college and mortgage loans over decades, and use credit cards far too much to pay for the necessities of life, including health care premiums.

To some of the rich and infamous, things like honesty, values and hard work appear to be “so yesterday.” As long as you have cash, you have clout. Talk about double standards.

According to the dictionary double standard isn’t a legal term per se, but became increasingly associated with arguing for equal treatment before the court. With the rise of the Civil Rights movement starting in the 1940s, activists frequently complained about the double standards for whites and blacks as well as other oppressed minority groups.

Take a serious look at incarceration times for African-American’s and Latinos for relatively minor crimes and misdemeanors only to see enormous disparity compared to Anglos.

According to the NAACP, in 2014 African-Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34 percent, of the total 6.8 million correctional population. African-Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites. The imprisonment rate for African-American women is twice that of white women. Nationwide, African-American children represent 32 percent of children who are arrested, 42 percent of children who are detained, and 52 percent of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court.

Though African-Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32 percent of the U.S.
population, they comprised 56 percent of all incarcerated people in 2015. If African-Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40 percent.

Another staggering stat is that in 2012 alone, the United States spent nearly $81 billion on corrections. Spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of spending on Pre‐K‐12 public education in the last thirty years, according to the NAACP.

The FBI in Boston tweeted, March 12, that 33 parents have been charged, nationwide, in connection with this elaborate cheating and athletic recruitment scheme. Some spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children admission to elite universities. Fake athletic profiles were also submitted for some students.

Take a look at pro sports in general; indeed a double standard exists here too. Again, without much cash, you’ll probably be left out of the “justice system” and be guilty until proven innocent, unless, of course, you’re desperately stealing (i.e. cheating) to get Susie’s SAT score higher than would be possible without a payoff.

Abigail Van Buren’s of ‘Dear Abby’ quote seems rather applicable now. “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.”

To view the full indictment, click here.

March 21, 2019

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Terry Miller


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