VoyForums

VoyUser Login optional ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345678910 ]
Subject: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
An Observer
[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]
Date Posted: 16:50:46 08/17/17 Thu
In reply to: mrjames 's message, "Re: Harvard basketball players are smart." on 20:01:37 08/07/17 Mon

If the only data point we had were an increase in the minimum AI floor over time, then yes -- one would probably feel comfortable that our improving league competitiveness in men's basketball were not coming at the expense of decreased academic standards.

But we have much more information than merely the rising AI threshold.

We know about many of the aggressive strategies which Harvard has embraced in its recruiting. These strategies include accepting transfers from junior colleges, recruiting high school players who at the time have an AI score below the league minimum, recruiting players years before they have any AI score at all, recruiting a player off a high school JV team to include his AI score in the team average and then dismissing him from the team in addition to the secondary violations which got Coach Amaker sanctioned and penalized by the NCAA. Et cetera, et cetera.

We've discussed all of this as well as other questionable tactics before. Earlier in this thread, we covered the data which revealed that, earlier in this decade, Harvard was at risk of being prohibited in accepting a bid to the NCAA tournament because the program's APR score was below the national minimum.

None of this was happening at Harvard during the Frank Sullivan years.

So here's how it looks to many observers.

Prior to the Amaker administration, Harvard (as well as Yale and Princeton) followed self-imposed academic policies which were materially more restrictive than the league AI minimum.

After Amaker's arrival, Harvard began to recruit aggressively right down to the league minimum.

So while the league minimum AI might have increased somewhat during Amaker's tenure, the fact that Harvard previously operated well above the minimum but no longer does leads to the fact that Harvard may be leading a race to the bottom academically. Boston Lion has plenty of reason to believe what he believes and many other observers share his suspicions.

[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]

Replies:
[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
mrjames
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 18:26:41 08/17/17 Thu

I always like to be clear on the specific arguments that are taking place here.

If the argument is that Harvard used to have super-restrictive academic policies relative to the Ivy League floor and now those self-imposed policies have loosened to the point where Harvard's standards are still more restrictive than the Ivy floor but not as restrictive as they used to be, then there's no argument to be had. Other schools that you mentioned (Princeton and Yale) with self-imposed restrictions above the floor have loosened theirs too, and frankly the steep rise of the AI floor hasn't left a lot of room to be that much more restrictive than the floor itself.

If the argument is that Harvard can do anything it wants above the floor (which I think all Ivies should be allowed to do), that's just not the case. Harvard continues to have AI-eligible players not make it through admissions, and certainly any of HYP would love to be able to do what, not going to mention any names, but other Ivies have been able to do in recent years.

And while you cite all of these aggressive things Harvard has been doing in recent years, other Ivies have recruited JuCo transfers since Amaker brought in Cem Dinc a decade ago. They've (even the sanctimonious ones) accepted commitments from kids while below the AI floor. They recruit kids on a wait and see basis that haven't tested yet (though they're pretty good at guessing if the kid has a chance to index or why waste their time), they've leveraged boosters that aren't close to D1 caliber to hit AI averages, they've had kids dismissed from school due to academic and non-academic transgressions and they've incurred secondary violations (which teams self-report a lot, by the way).

I'd caution against the availability bias that's running rampant here. That Harvard's journey (good and bad) is well-documented while the lumps other programs take aren't is what it is. I wish Harvard (and all Ivies) lived in the free-for-all world that many accuse it of. While FinAid is much more important, freedom to explore the AI space fully and without further restriction would accelerate this league's rise to a Top 10 basketball conference nationally.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
An Observer
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12:50:38 08/25/17 Fri

I think that you agree completely with at least one thing that I'm saying, which you expressed in your first full paragraph. Namely, Harvard under Sullivan was operating under self-imposed restrictions which have effectively been abandoned under Amaker.

But in your next two paragraphs, you raise a straw man which is a diversionary tactic. Nobody here is saying that no other Ivy program has ever accepted a JuCo transfer or ever accepted an academic booster. I personally can't think of another JuCo transfer in the Ivies, but I believe that it must be technically allowed since non-athletes can and do transfer from junior colleges. Furthermore, all Ivy programs in all sports likely accept some academic boosters because they need to keep their averages up.

The belief here is NOT that no other Ivy program ever does what Harvard under Amaker has done. That's your straw man.

Rather, the belief here is that Amaker pushes all these dimensions simultaneously and to the extreme. Camden McRae is not a typical booster. He was a kid who had no business being on a Division I roster even as a benchwarmer. Amaker acknowledged as such when he dismissed McRae prior to the start of practice freshman year. McRae is almost certainly the least qualified athlete ever recruited for any Ivy sport whose parents have not donated millions to the university.

I recently watched on ESPN an excellent short series called "Being P.J. Fleck" about the new head football coach at Minnesota. He is exactly the kind of smart, disciplined, energetic and ambitious coach you would want to play for. I was somewhat surprised that he described in great detail a recruiting loophole that he discovered and exploited before the NCAA moved quickly to close it. It's now called the P.J. Fleck rule.

Fleck himself was unapologetic, explicitly saying that his job is to find and exploit every loophole he can. He smiled and laughed as he described with glee how he had discovered this loophole which clearly was against the spirit of several existing NCAA rules.

The point is that there are ethical college coaches who want to win by the rules, but simultaneously believe that pushing every single rule right to the very edge is not only acceptable, but desired and practically mandatory to doing their job.

That's what Amaker and Scalise have done and are doing. Push every rule to the edge. That's not the philosophy I believe the Ivy League should stand for.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
mrjames
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 20:34:57 08/25/17 Fri

All I can say is that I wish there wasn't all this hush, hush about the AI and the league rules. It's a real shame.

If you're interested in learning more about truly what's going on, I'm happy to provide as much context as I can/am allowed to provide from my fifteen years of experience covering the league.

If you're interested in just repeating your fan agenda over and over again, that's fine, but I don't see a lot of reason to continue to engage.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
Boston Lion
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 13:27:14 08/26/17 Sat

Perhaps there's no reason to engage.

Thanks to An Observer for your comments.

Harvard-in-decline deniers can launch all of the statistics-focused arguments that they want to. But, there also such a thing as common sense and experience-based judgment.

For example, using these skills and knowledge, a car guy can often (I stress often but not always) tell the difference between a good car and a bum car from twenty paces using many small clues. Looking at Harvard's recent race to the bottom from a few yards away, the overall downward tilt of Harvard's practices are obvious to some, but I apparently not to all. I guess that we'll just have to leave it there. Eventually, the end-results of all of this will become evident as time rolls on.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
Boston Lion
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 13:30:09 08/26/17 Sat

. . . meant to say "but apparently not to all."

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
An Observer
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 22:57:48 09/11/17 Mon

mrjames, I think you're way off base accusing anybody else of pursuing a "fan agenda."

All that people (fans or not) can do is work with the facts that are in front of us. That's all any reasonable observer of any situation can do. This is not pursuing a "fan agenda." It's drawing a reasonable inductive conclusion from necessarily imperfect information.

And the facts that are in front of us are incriminating for Amaker.

We've discussed Amaker's transgressions before. You imply that you have exculpatory additional facts and yet you repeatedly refuse to disclose any of them.

Let me ask you this. Let's arbitrarily select the year 2000 as the beginning of the recent past. Since the year 2000, has any other Ivy coach been cited by the NCAA for recruiting violations? Has any other Ivy program been sanctioned by the NCAA with recruiting restrictions as punishment? Has any other Ivy coach done something questionable like the Zack Rosen "Shop Rite" recruiting incident? Are you aware of any other Ivy coach recruiting a high AI player off a high school junior varsity team and then immediately dismissing him? Are you aware of any other Ivy basketball player being recruited in eighth grade? Are you aware of any other Ivy basketball player who has publicly disclosed lower SAT scores than Wesley Saunders did? Which other Ivy programs have recruited a junior college transfer?

Are you aware of anything any other Ivy coach or other Ivy program has done which compares to what Amaker has done?

If you genuinely have this huge cache of exculpatory facts, you can disclose one or two or three has you suggest you can.

Enough of your opaque hints that Amaker is innocent or that everybody else cheats.

The facts that we have in front of us are incriminating for Amaker. Either provide new additional facts or concede that we "fans" are simply drawing reasonable conclusions from the imperfect information we have.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: How and Why Boston Lion Believes Harvard Leading A Race To The Bottom Academically


Author:
mrjames
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 08:47:36 09/14/17 Thu

Answers:

Since the year 2000, has any other Ivy coach been cited by the NCAA for recruiting violations?

Not sure what you mean by "cited" but teams self-report secondary or inadvertent violations to the NCAA all the time. The Ivy League and its teams have a policy not to disclose these reported violations but took the unprecedented step to do so in the Harvard case due to the previous publicity it received. If you're looking for a published list of all the Ivy secondary violations, though, you're going to be disappointed. Do a quick search though, and you'll see that it's common for athletic departments to report double-digit numbers of these a year and normally nothing comes of them.

Has any other Ivy program been sanctioned by the NCAA with recruiting restrictions as punishment?

I don't believe any other secondaries have yielded penalties from the NCAA, but NCAA violations can happen anywhere. Right around the beginning of this decade, I think Princeton Women's Tennis was hit with a major (not secondary) violation for paying a player. But you wouldn't normally ever hear about a secondary violation.

Has any other Ivy coach done something questionable like the Zack Rosen "Shop Rite" recruiting incident?

The New York Times has not bothered to report about other similar incidents. Or you can ignore Chris Lincoln's book Playing The Game and assume that was the first time any Ivy coach has ever said more words than "Hello" when he or she was supposed to only say that.

Are you aware of any other Ivy coach recruiting a high AI player off a high school junior varsity team and then immediately dismissing him?

A little history here. Prior to the establishment of roster sizes that could count toward the AI average (early 2000s - traveling size times 1.4), you could literally count anyone that checked the box indicating interest in a sport on the application toward your AI average. It's only recently that AI boosters are highly scrutinized as actual recruits. And here's the issue: you want either an AI booster that can actually play (not all that common - though coaches around the league will jokingly refer to them as "AI All Stars")) or an AI booster that clearly couldn't play for any D1 school. If you pick someone in the middle, they're likely to be a cancer on your team for not getting playing time and to ultimately transfer or otherwise be a nuisance. I hate AI averaging (as do many administrators across the league), but if it must exist I'd rather see booster slots given to kids who know they won't ever play than ones given to kids who have fringe D1 skills but will be planted on the bench for four years.

Are you aware of any other Ivy basketball player being recruited in eighth grade?

If you think that the first exploration of a kid's ability and desire to attend your institution happens on a call on June 15th following their sophomore year, you've lost your mind.

Are you aware of any other Ivy basketball player who has publicly disclosed lower SAT scores than Wesley Saunders did?

Wes Saunders' publicly disclosed scores were over 1800 (or over 1200 on the two part). When Wes Saunders was coming into the league the floor was still 171. He'd be solidly clear of that. Even today with the floor at 183 now, he'd be darn close to okay, and Ivy coaches will continue to recruit and wait for re-tests on kids 100 points lower or more. I'm not going to malign any specific kids (that's exclusively for people to do to Harvard basketball recruits), but if you do your research, you'll find articles about kids in NE prep schools talking about raising their SAT scores to get into an Ivy.

Which other Ivy programs have recruited a junior college transfer?

Brown, Cornell, Penn just in the last couple years.

Ultimately, I don't blame people for coming to these conclusions. Between confirmation and availability bias, and the Ivy League's nature of not admitting anything unless external reporters break a story and force them to, I can understand how you've arrived at your conclusions. If I were covering the league as a reporter, I'd work really hard to get info on the record to share with others. But I really only cover the league for my own interest. To the extent it's totally fine to share something, I do (AI increases, the Ivy tourney, etc). There's always going to be a big gap between what I know and what media outlets bother to report about this league, though.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]


VoyUser Login ] Not required to post.
Post a public reply to this message | Go post a new public message
* HTML allowed in marked fields.
* Message subject (required):

Name (required):

  Expression (Optional mood/title along with your name) Examples: (happy, sad, The Joyful, etc.) help)

  E-mail address (optional):

* Type your message here:


Notice: Copies of your message may remain on this and other systems on internet. Please be respectful.

[ Contact Forum Admin ]


Forum timezone: GMT-5
VF Version: 3.00b, ConfDB:
Before posting please read our privacy policy.
VoyForums(tm) is a Free Service from Voyager Info-Systems.
Copyright © 1998-2016 Voyager Info-Systems. All Rights Reserved.