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Date Posted: 17:23:09 09/21/18 Fri
I fear that we are talking past each other. I will try to be more clear about what I am and am not saying.
First, I make no assertions about what the other seven Ivies are doing. You infer than I am "suggesting" (your words) that Amaker is "the worst transgressor." I am not saying that Harvard is worse or better than the other Ivies. What I am describing is what we see Harvard doing. No more or no less.
That you bring up the very unfortunate situation with Jerome Allen is, if you'll excuse any confrontational tone, deflection on your part. It's very unfortunate and no less than pathetic that Jerome Allen is taking money to put an entirely unqualified athlete in Morris Enformes on his formal list of preferred recruits submitted to the admissions office. But it's not relevant.
The topic at hand is the questionable academic standards of the Harvard men's basketball program. A reasonable query is what should we conclude when Tommy Amaker puts an entirely unqualified athlete in Camden McRae on his formal list of preferred recruits submitted to the admissions office?
It's fantastic that Harvard and Yale are earning NABC academic awards. That is a relevant data point. So is the fact that, in 2015, Harvard's men's basketball NCAA Academic Progress Rate was so low that, had it continued unchanged for two more years, the Ivy League would have been put into the uncomfortable position that, had the Harvard won the conference, the Crimson would have been ineligible to participate in the NCAA tournament.
Getting back to the broadest and most important topic of our dialogue, the campus AI at all eight Ivies is relevant *ONLY* to the extent that the campus AI sets the mandated AI distribution curve for (A) football; and in a separate calculation, (B) all other 32 Ivy championship sports, collectively (that is, treated as one pool of 32 rosters combined).
So the disadvantage that you describe for HYP is absolutely true for HYP football although, as I described, the disadvantage has narrowed because the SAT scale was re-centered in 1995, rendering the top of the distribution of student scores truncated and thus not informative.
For the other 32 Ivy-championship sports, any recruiting advantage or disadvantage is entirely determined by how aggressive each school's athletic director wants to be in each of the 32 sports.
I am surprised that you say Harvard has a disadvantage relative to Penn "no matter how I spin it." That is patently untrue. If Bob Scalise wants to be aggressive in men's basketball, and it appears that he does, he can permit Tommy Amaker to recruit all of his players right down to the minimum AI threshold of 176. Because basketball has a relatively small roster of 14-18 players, it's actually reasonably painless for any athletic director to recruit aggressively in hoops because you can always get the school average back up using the 31 other sports.
Have you ever noticed that certain Ivy sports have rosters which are jam-packed with Asians? I'm thinking golf, tennis and squash. Those are convenient sports in which to squirrel away high AI athletic recruits to compensate for low AI recruits elsewhere.
I like it when you point out that some Harvard basketball recruits are pursued by other Ivies. That is good news. I would actually frame the sentence in the opposite direction logically. It's bad news when any Ivy pursues any recruit who is not recruited by any other Ivy. Harvard seems to have a lot of those.
I am confident that all Ivy coaches like to point out to their fans a given recruit who was passed up because of AI issues that subsequently ended up at a different Ivy. But any individual recruit must be considered in the context of the other players in his recruiting class and the overall roster.
To provide a more tangible example, suppose player John Doe is of average ability and average AI. John Doe might be passed up at Harvard because, given his average AI, Tommy Amaker can recruit a much better player for his AI slot. But what if the coach at Dartmouth or Brown can't recruit a better player at that AI score or *AT ALL*? John Doe will wind up at Dartmouth or Brown. That does not necessarily mean that Dartmouth or Brown have lower academic standards. It only means that Tommy Amaker aims higher in athletic ability for a given AI score.
While we're on the topic of arguably irrelevant hearsay, I'll pass along a story solely because it reflects a remarkable coincidence. Last night--that's right, just last night--I played poker with a group of gentlemen previously unknown to me including one older guy whose son is a current long-time men's basketball coach at an Ivy.
I didn't know this fact until after a couple hours had passed. We had already talked about personal topics such as his medical condition and his obvious pride and love for his children. Seriously, when the topic of children came up, he stopped and almost began tearing up.
May all of us someday be that proud of our children, and may all of our parents be that proud of us.
Once I found out who his son was, we started to talk Ivy League basketball in earnest. I couldn't resist asking him whether he thought Harvard was cheating academically in basketball because literally a few hours early I had been posting in this thread. To his great credit, it was clear that he did not want to discuss the topic. Naturally, I wouldn't let it go and continued to press him. Finally, he sighed and said that there had been "shenanigans" early in Amaker's tenure at Harvard, but that he didn't know what was or was not happening now. And that's all he would say.
I guess the big picture regarding Tommy Amaker is exactly as described by my new poker playing friend. We have a number, indeed a large number, of data points which strongly suggest or reflect that Amaker has at least at one time committed "shenanigans."
We don't know what he is or is not doing now, and we don't know what the other seven Ivy programs are doing in an attempt to keep up.
But what we have already seen is very troubling. The incriminating evidence known for sure should give all Ivy fans, coaches and administrators reason to think about how seriously we want to maintain what we wear as a badge of pride in this conference, that we will at all times maintain the highest of academic standards for varsity athletes.
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