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Subject: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 23:37:51 02/11/18 Sun

A couple of hours ago, a good friend of mine mentioned in a conversation, "Hey, my cousin was just named the new president of Harvard University."

I believe that Harvard athletic director Robert Scalise waited until former president Larry Summers was replaced by Drew Gilpin Faust to upgrade the Crimson basketball program because he suspected Summers would not have tolerated any diminishment of Harvard academic standards in the interest of winning hoops. Look at Summers' frosty relationship with Cornel West, for example, which provoked West to return to Princeton.

So I asked my friend this evening, "Knowing your cousin Larry Bacow, do you think it is possible that he would tighten Harvard academic standards as far as basketball is concerned?"

My friend replied, "Just the opposite. Bacow would never make any changes which would create either the impression or the reality that he was making it more difficult for African-Americans to attend Harvard."

So there you have it. Good news for Harvard basketball.

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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 13:32:07 02/12/18 Mon

The so-called "good news" for H basketball is long-term very bad news for H and American higher education in general. The Amaker frolic and detour is an shameful stain on H and in reality signifies H's surrender of any claim that it may have formerly had to a leadership role and holding the line on standards.

Short-term fun, I'm sure but not worth the long-term price. If Summers was a threat to that, good on 'im. Bacon will show his character in how he deals with this nonsense.

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[> [> Subject: What "nonsense" are you talking about, "Boston Lion?"


Author:
Observer
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Date Posted: 13:39:28 02/12/18 Mon

https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2017-09-18/college-basketball-harvard-pushes-education-through-athletics

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: What "nonsense" are you talking about, "Boston Lion?"


Author:
L et V
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Date Posted: 15:25:04 02/12/18 Mon

The real point of all this is that Bacow peaked as president of Tufts. His next gig is a step backwards. Bad move, Larry.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: What "nonsense" are you talking about, "Boston Lion?"


Author:
Ivy wanna be
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Date Posted: 16:15:09 02/12/18 Mon

Options are great for breakfast ,
or anything. Nice article.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
IvySportsJunkie
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Date Posted: 18:55:42 02/12/18 Mon

The unfair allegations of lowering academic standards to recruit elite athletes reminds me of the equally unfair and unsubstantiated criticism of Coach Bill Tierney when he was at Princeton when Tierney was able to consistently assemble top 10 lacrosse recruiting classes. Tierney and Amaker should be praised for their ability to recruit elite athletes who excelled in both the classroom and at their respective sports.

It has been pointed out on numerous occasions that Amaker has been able to recruit top talent without having to lower academic standards. For example, it has been noted that his current team has 14 players with published high school GPAs. It is remarkable that 13 of the 14 of these athletes on his roster earned 4.0 GPAs in high school (Seth Towns, Chris Lewis, Justin Bassey, Balsa Dragovic, Weisner Perez, Chris Egi, Andre Chatfield, Robbie Fienberg, Zach Yosher, Rio Haskett and Reed Farley) with Christian Juzang having a 3.8 GPA. Tommy McCarthy, Corey Johnson, James McLean and Danilo Djuricic did not have published GPAs. Thus, it is safe to assume that the team overall high school GPA average is well over 3.9 with an estimated academic index (AI) team average well over 200. My guess is that Mitch Henderson at Princeton, James Jones at Yale, Steve Donahue at Penn, as well as our other coaches are doing as well as Amaker at recruiting star basketball players with equally strong academic qualifications as Amaker has achieved.

This is consistent with the experiences of those of us who are involved in interviewing recruited athletes. There is no question that we are witnessing a trend of ever rising GPAs and SAT scores for our recruits, despite the level of athletic ability of the recruited athletes also improving compared to a decade ago. The dramatically improved financial aid packages seems to have especially helped the sport of basketball where the vast majority of the elite recruits are on near full scholarship so the Ivy coaches can be more selective in their academic qualifications.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 20:17:54 02/12/18 Mon

If you estimate an academic index for the team well over 200, why would Coach Amaker have the need to recruit somebody like Camden McRae?

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
IvySportsJunkie
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Date Posted: 20:37:45 02/12/18 Mon

I believe that Camden McRae graduated two years ago and is enrolled in Stanford Law School. Thus, Camden would not be a factor in the current roster's academic index.

In terms of my estimation of average AI score for the team, I used the assumption of an average GPA of 3.9. If this is the case, then the team would only need to average 625 test scores to exceed 200 AI score. 625 test scores are relatively low for Ivy recruited athletes, especially athletes with average GPA of 3.9.

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[> [> Subject: Camden McRae


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 21:08:40 02/12/18 Mon

Are you familiar with the particulars of the recruitment of Camden McRae?

He was recruited off his high school junior varsity team and announced as a formal member of the Harvard basketball team with his sky high AI score. (He was also a member of his high school math team -- but in this case the varsity, not the JV.) After his AI data was averaged into the Harvard team score, McRae was summarily dismissed from the roster in September, before fall basketball practice even began. He was never even issued a practice jersey or a jock.

Now if Harvard is recruiting its "real" players with an average AI "well over 200," there would be no need to bring in egregious ringers like McRae. And yet there was in the summer press release and on the formal roster for a cup of coffee. That is, before the Harvard athletic communications department went back and erased his name from the press release, like Josef Stalin rewriting history.

It strains credibility that the other 14 guys on the roster averaged over 200.

I think you're missing the forest for the trees in that McRae's recruitment and inclusion in the Harvard team AI average contradicts all of your other assumptions.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Drew2411
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Date Posted: 21:18:18 02/12/18 Mon

Never understood the attack on Harvard hoop around academics...Harvard has the highest AI in the conference correct? And the highest minimum by definition? Plus doesn’t the IVY have an AI minimum no school can go below...if accurate, how can Harvard be going below any other Ivy for a recruit? Just don’t understand the argument. And I am not a Harvard grad.

Biggest joke in Ivy is number of football recruits each school takes...Columbia up to 38...given virtually none of the recruits would be accepted absent football, how do you justify that many spots being taken up at schools that aren’t that big. Stanford won’t bring in that many for football, basketball and baseball combined...

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
The Mountain Lion
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Date Posted: 00:24:29 02/13/18 Tue

If you want to play the "biggest joke in ivy game," than that would be Harvard's admission a few years ago of a 7'0" basketball player who played first in a college in Germany, then at Indiana University and then a community college in Iowa before finally transferring to Harvard. Perhaps he was in fact a great student, but the route he travelled to Harvard was very unusual. Moreover, I assume you are unaware of the stringent Ivy League football recruiting rules because all the Ivies including Columbia adhere strictly to those rules and bring in highly qualified young men who must meet very difficult academic standards. I doubt there is a single Ivy League football recruit who isn't qualified to do well academically. May I note also that if you think that Stanford brings in less than 38 recruits annually "for football, basketball and baseball combined," you are dreaming. That number at Stanford is more like "50" and that's before preferred walk ons and others.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Drew2411
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Date Posted: 20:39:14 02/13/18 Tue

You used an example that based solely on prejudice that you thought was a joke but failed to address the actual question. Given the Ivy League has an AI minimum for all athletes and Harvard has the highest AI (and by definition highest AI floor), how can Harvard be admitting basketball players with lower academic standards than any other Ivy school? Are you alleging they are forging transcripts or test scores? If not, how can they be circumventing these stringent academic standards?

Yes I am well aware of the AI standards and stringent academic standards of Ivy League...I am also not stupid so know that very few recruited athletes would get in absent being recruited athletes. How do I and everyone on this board know that? Because admissions directors have acknowledged it publicly, coaches acknowledge it, we have seen publicly disclosed ACT in the 20s ( zero chance you get into an Ivy as non-athlete with 28 on ACT) and we all went to high school with recruited Ivy athletes who had no chance of getting in if not recruited. They are still very smart - not doubting that, probably qualified to do well academically but not getting in without sports.

In 2017, Stanford had 15 scholarship recruits for football, 4 for hoop and 8 for baseball...that is a fact...as you know there are strict limits on number of scholarship players you can recruit by sport. 85 in football on roster, 13 for hoop and 12.6 for baseball. Preferred walk-ons might be 3-4 in football, doubt any in hoop, and maybe a couple in baseball. Still far fewer than 38 football recruits for Columbia. Very hard for elite academic schools to get walk-ons. If that smart (admissions doesn’t care about walk-ones so don’t expect much latitude on grades), much more likely to go Ivy where you can actually play vs walk-on at Stanford, Duke, NW where your chances of seeing the field are nil.

I guess I am dreaming but at least my dreams are based on facts and reality.

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Anthony
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Date Posted: 23:40:10 02/13/18 Tue

Drew, you have a slight but important misunderstanding of how the AI system is implemented. The HYP schools do indeed have the highest AI distributions overall and, depending upon the specific year or recruiting cycle, Harvard can be highest of all. But that is the distribution across all 32 non-football sports.

Furthermore, the minimum AI score is the same for all Ivy athletes; neither HYP nor Harvard have a higher minimum AI score than the other five/seven schools.

Taking those two inputs together, it's not that Harvard is admitting students below the threshold AI score. It's that Harvard is packing a disproportionate number of its low AI recruits from the 32 non-football sports onto basketball while pushing the lower limit with regularity. For example, star recruit Wesley Saunders '15 revealed his SAT scores in an interview. He probably had one of the lowest half dozen scores of any student in his Harvard class, including development admits and faculty kids.

So the nature of the transgression is not as you inquire. No Harvard basketball player has an AI score below the League minimum. But Harvard funnels more of its low AI recruits from the 32 non-football sports onto basketball, including many of its very lowest.

Add in the other stuff going on around the program which has been described endlessly in other threads and that's why some people think that's a problem in a League which exists solely to maintain and enforce academic standards for athletes.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Also part of the story


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 11:50:31 02/14/18 Wed


Harvard was widely perceived as being the driving engine for the AI in response to athletic success at other schools (Penn basketball, Cornell hockey).

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Drew2411
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Date Posted: 17:21:56 02/17/18 Sat

Anthony:
I fully understand it. No Harvard player can be admitted that is below the Ivy min. Your complaint is Harvard aggregates more in hoop correct? First off that has always happened ( if you are a new hockey coach for example you will ask to get more share of low bands for first few years to get program re started). Second, why is this a problem? Hoop is a sport based on attendance, visibility that is where I as an AD would clearly emphasize and allow more lower band recruits. I certainly wouldn’t give many if any low bands in sports like field hockey or lacrosse where- recruits inevitably come from upper middle class and private schools

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
John Harvard
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Date Posted: 00:17:46 02/14/18 Wed

You just admitted that no player can be below the AI standard, and that Harvard's standard may be highest in the Ivy League. Where is the transgression?

Harvard's recruits have generally stuck around and graduated, as evidenced by Harvard Basketball being awarded its 4th consecutive NABC award (3.0 team GPA) - tied only with Yale. In 2016-17, only HYP and Columbia won the NABC Team Excellence Award. There are other Ivy basketball programs with kids facing academic suspensions, arrests, expulsions and lower AI standards. Take your sour grapes elsewhere. At this point, Harvard is recruiting great kids who are deserving students. I know the Harvard kids as does my Harvard college son, who is friends with many of them. You can only hope to be as talented and have the character they do.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Anthony
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Date Posted: 00:49:47 02/14/18 Wed

Not that it matters, but I went to Harvard, too.

I didn't know any of the guys on the team, but nobody is suggesting they're not fine people.

Nobody is accusing Harvard players of being arrested, although I'd go easy on bragging that none of our players have faced academic suspensions. Short memory, eh?

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
CU_88
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Date Posted: 05:56:24 02/14/18 Wed

Harvard has not dominated the Ivy basketball league lately with all of the top recruits. Until they have a couple of 14-0 seasons there is no reason to complain.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
IvySportsJunkie
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Date Posted: 10:03:56 02/14/18 Wed

My concern noted on this thread is that some of the alums assume that a coach must be cheating if he consistently wins in the Ivy League. I tend to think that these Ivy coaches win because they are good coaches, great motivators and good recruiters. They do not need to lower academic standards to win. Eldo (Al) Bagnoli won at Penn and now is winning at Columbia, not by lowering standards, but by being a damn good coach.

MrJames has influenced me to learn about our highest ranked basketball recruits. When you do this, you will be so impressed by how each of the Ivies are continually upgrading the quality of their recruits on the court and in the classroom (such as noted by Harvard achieving a remarkable average team GPA over 3.9). If anything, our administrations should be extremely proud of this track record. Yes, we have had a few issues at each of our schools, but unlike the Power 5 conferences, our track record among our student athletes is only getting better. This month, the Ivies are setting all time records for number of applications to get into our schools making it harder and harder to get into our schools and making us even more attractive to prospective athletes and to recruiters at employers. As our financial aid packages continue to improve, I think you will see continued improvement in the classroom and on the court, field, diamond and rink. Just as so many of our jock alumni would not have qualified today for admissions, many on current rosters would not qualify in a decade from now.

We may not win NCAA championships in the major sports (other than hockey), but we are bringing home the gold medal in the quality of our athletes on campus and post-graduation.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Crimson Carl
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Date Posted: 19:22:16 02/14/18 Wed

Until Harvard dominates the Ivy League in BB I doubt there is anything to worry about. And given how their highly rated recruits haven't that done to date....it may never happen.

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[> [> [> Subject: What planet have you been on?


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 20:30:01 02/14/18 Wed


If I told you that an Ivy team won five straight BB titles from 2010-15, what team would you think I'm talking about?

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: What planet have you been on?


Author:
Crimson Carl
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Date Posted: 07:06:50 02/15/18 Thu

Two of those shared :)

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[> [> Subject: ah


Author:
holtsledge
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Date Posted: 22:24:29 02/14/18 Wed

Bucknell?

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 23:22:23 02/14/18 Wed

H basketball. Middling at best for decades.

Then they dump a ton of booster-sourced money into the program, replace their Ivy-style coach, recruit a factory-school-level coach and give his wife a job too making for two Harvard paychecks, supplement his salary from said booster funds, watch him commit a recruiting violation in his early days, and bang, bang, bang, bang, bang--machine-gun one championship after another.

I can't imagine why anyone would look at those arresting facts and get the impression that anything suspicious may be going on in the way that H games the AI system.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Unknown
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Date Posted: 12:42:28 02/15/18 Thu

Just out of curiosity, does the Ivy League have any oversight of the admissions process for athletes? Obviously they aren't reading essays and examining applications, but is there any verification of an athlete's AI? Could schools be falsifying AIs?

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 13:37:33 02/15/18 Thu


"Playing the Game" talked about this, I believe.

IIRC, the formal answer is "no." That being said, the other Ivies would know if a school is violating the AI. They all generally looking at the same recruits and know what a prospect's scores are.

A school that is flouting the AI would face significant blowback from the other Ivies.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: For example...


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 13:43:06 02/15/18 Thu


If an Ivy school is suspected of lowering admissions, stuff like this appears in the press.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/sports/02iht-HARVARD.1.10613794.html

https://www.si.com/vault/1995/08/28/205855/winning-ways-penn-has-not-lost-a-game-in-two-years-question-is-to-achieve-dominance-has-it-compromised-the-ivy-leagues-academic-ideals

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
IvySportsJunkie
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Date Posted: 12:48:52 02/15/18 Thu

Wow, it is so interesting to see how hard you have to work to make sure that you can imply there is something fishy going on when a coach begins to win in the Ivy League. It does not seem to matter that Coach Amaker is recruiting students with truly outstanding academic records and of equally good character, which along with his success on the court has generated a plethora of very positive articles on the program in the past 5 years.

One of the creative facts that you have tried to use is to question the job of Amaker's wife as if she is not qualified for her position at Harvard. You may want to explore looking at someone's background before making derogatory remarks about someone's qualifications. In this case, you will find that Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker happens to be extremely well qualified for her position as director of a mental health program at Harvard. She earned her BA in Psychology from Duke in 1982, PhD in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt in 1988, and completed her education by earning two highly prestigious post doctorate research fellowships at Duke Medical School and at Yale Medical School. Building upon this outstanding educational resume, she has spent over 25 years in university based student mental health treatment, administration, and policy. Prior to her assuming her position at Harvard, she held a similar mental health dean position at the University of Michigan for six and a half years. Dr. Pinder-Amaker also has been editor for the Harvard Review of Psychiatry's special issue on college student mental health and has published a number articles on mental health topics.

I hope we do not make it a habit of exploring what jobs the spouses of our coaches get, especially if they are highly qualified. It is hard enough to recruit coaches to work in the Ivy League as it is. For well qualified spouses, it is very common for them to be able to find a similar level job in the new city when a new head coach is hired. To illustrate this point, Belle Koclanes, the head of Dartmouth women's basketball team, is married to Jill Glessner. Jill is well qualified for her positions as the assistant athletic director for Dartmouth external relations, announcer for the Dartmouth radio network and a most informative contributor for the Ivy Hoops Online podcasts. We are so lucky to have Jill in our family of Ivy League sports addicts, so that her relationship with the Dartmouth basketball coach should not be an issue.

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[> [> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 15:29:40 02/15/18 Thu

Not meaning to take exception to the information that you've provided, but . . .

1. Given how famously picky academics are about assessing one another's qualifications for much-sought-after academic posts, particularly at luminary institutions, I have always found the academic two-fer concept to be inherently suspect. Not saying that the "trailing spouse" cannot be qualified. Just saying that it seems less questionable for each person to win a highly coveted job at a university on his or her own merits, and without the "thumb-on-the-scale" effect of having his/her spouse (spouse #1) first secure a job at said university, which then miraculously results in spouse #2 snagging a plum position.

and

2. An assistant AD involves a very different selection process than a typical academic post at a luminary university.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
IvySportsJunkie
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Date Posted: 18:14:36 02/15/18 Thu

BL, I do understand your points, but I still wonder if it makes sense for posters to question the relative fairness of the employment selection of an exceptionally qualified spouse of a hired coach. As you noted, I have found numerous cases within our universities that when a distinguished Professor is hired, the trailing spouse often is able to secure a similar level job at the same university (assuming the spouse is well qualified).

Most importantly, none of us were in a position to judge the relative strengths of the other applicants for this position. To put this in another way, I am guessing that the majority of posters on this board have done exceptionally well in our careers and that most of us have reached the C-Suite level in our respective firms at a relatively young age (my assumption is based on my experiences with alumni classmates). That said, I also am guessing that less than 90% of us were able to achieve the same level of academic credentials as Dr. Pinder-Amaker, which makes it even more dubious for us to question her qualifications. I would rather us stick to discussing the merits of our sports teams, along with our continual good natured attempts to tease each other.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 22:32:25 02/15/18 Thu

Fair enough. No argument here.

Mentioning her was only the flea on the tail of the dog, and not even the tail or the dog. It was only a passing reference to illustrate the rather eyebrow-raising combination of inducements that were heaved into the sudden, and still in my mind highly suspect offensive, by H basketball.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Uptown
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Date Posted: 19:35:16 02/18/18 Sun

We are talking about the Ivy League here: where nepotism rules.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 13:59:52 02/19/18 Mon

Well, nepotism is one thing, but massively torquing the sheet metal of the Ivy compact to disfigure and twist it into a mockery of itself is quite another.

HirIng factory-school coaches is a dead giveaway and shows that H wasn't even concerned enough to attempt to be subtle about this.

How do people suppose the other Ivies would react if years ago one of the schools had hired Joe Paterno as its football coach (setting aside the financial improbability of such an occurrence)? The factory schools operate according to HUGELY different priorities and motives, and the constantly recurrIng scandals that accompany those priorities continually lay bare what those priorities are. I've got nothing against excellence in college-age athletes. But the NFL and NBA should just pay for their own damn farm systems, the way baseball has done for ages.

Coaches who are formed in the factory-school environment have no more business in the Ivies than Lady Gaga has playing first violin in the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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[> [> Subject: speaking of lady gaga


Author:
holtsledge
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Date Posted: 15:32:40 02/19/18 Mon

The guy that tossed her the glitter football in last yr super bowl's halftime show was none other than Dartmouth's own Brian "You da" Mann. He is still number two or three on all the career passing records and I think number one in season yardage just shy of 3000 yds

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[> [> Subject: If you want to see how a Harvard athlete games the system


Author:
Calvin
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Date Posted: 10:09:31 02/20/18 Tue

Check this out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/02/20/how-a-skier-managed-to-compete-at-the-olympics-despite-not-being-very-good/?utm_term=.634a88128b91

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: If you want to see how a Harvard athlete games the system


Author:
Donnie Lerner
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Date Posted: 18:29:10 02/20/18 Tue

Interesting read.

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[> Subject: Re: New Harvard President Unlikely to Rein In Amaker


Author:
Boston Lion
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Date Posted: 15:36:52 02/19/18 Mon

Boy, it takes impressive range and creativity to connect Dartmouth's proud football tradition with Lady Gaga, but you've done it, Magoo. Good on ya.

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[> [> Subject: It's a great story


Author:
holtsledge
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Date Posted: 16:45:09 02/19/18 Mon

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2017/02/10/here-how-guy-from-canton-made-pass-lady-gaga-super-bowl/VLv9yBCvg7iXQwH5gC7M0M/story.html

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