In 1939, Robert Maynard Hutchins, then President of the University of Chicago, got rid of the football team amid concerns that college sports were turning young athletes into “perjurers, scalpers and football gigolos.” Football did not return until 1969. Reportedly, students at my alma mater were having none of it. Some “turned up at a club game bearing signs that read ‘Ban the Ball,’ in English and in Greek.” Those were the good old days.
In the college admissions cheating scandal that broke on Tuesday, it looks like the young applicants themselves were kept in the dark, but their parents were prepared to do all sorts of things to help their children get into good schools. Among those things was paying a consultant to “superimpose the face of a . . . student onto stock photos of athletes.” One parent paid a graphic designer to make it appear that his son, who doesn’t play water polo, played rather well. William Singer, the admissions consultant at the center of the scandal, noted that the Photoshop attempt put the child too high out of the water—“no one gets that high.” Perhaps not.