Kyle Casey averaged 11.4 points and 5.5 rebounds during a historic 2011-12 season for Harvard.
Scandals in college sports are no longer surprising — they seemingly make headlines every week. A scandal at the prestigious Harvard University, however? Now that will raise some eyebrows.
Earlier in the week Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, co-captains of Harvard’s men’s basketball team, were implicated in an academic cheating scandal. Casey and Curry reportedly cheated on a take-home final exam for a government class.
While the integrity of those implicated in the scandal is in question, and rightfully so, University of Minnesota professor Keith Moyer is questioning the viability of the take-home test, too.
Moyer, a journalism teacher, said he would never give out a take-home exam because of “the temptation, not just for student-athletes, but for any student to sort of cut corners, crib, to cheat.
“It’s a nice notion that you can trust the students to do as they’re supposed to do when they take home an exam. In reality, life is life and people are people and they’re going to do what they have to do, generally.”
Take-home exams have surfaced as an alternative to the run-of-the-mill multiple-choice exams most college classes include.
Generally, take-home exams offer additional time for students to answer more rigorous questions — time that students could use to gather and share answers, according to University of Minnesota sophomore Kenneth Eban.
Eban, who hasn’t taken a take-home test in college, said students are more concerned about their GPA than learning the material. That, in turn, could lead to academic dishonesty.
“Standards for students are so high that they expect so much out of themselves and they need to keep their GPA up,” he said. “You don’t go to the higher-rated schools to be at the bottom of the class. You go to higher-rated schools to be at the top of the class.”
A total of 125 Harvard undergraduates are under investigation for academic dishonesty, according to Sports Illustrated.
Evan Frondorf, a student at Yale and a sports columnist for the Yale Daily News, said Yale students had discussed the scandal for a couple of weeks before national media outlets picked it up. He said he thinks Harvard’s national prestige is responsible for the coverage of this story.
“[The scandal] would be bad if it happened anywhere, but the Ivy League is stereotyped and put up on this pedestal,” he said. “That’s why it’s getting all this attention.”
In 1999, the St. Paul Pioneer Press uncovered a massive case of academic fraud involving the University of Minnesota’s men’s basketball team. In turn, the Gophers were forced to vacate their 1997 Final Four appearance and the program has yet to recover fully.
Since 2010, Lynn Holleran has served as the director of the McNamara Academic Center for Student-Athletes at Minnesota. She says the school spends a considerable amount of time cautioning athletes about the dangers of cheating.
“[Student-athletes] are certainly cognizant of the fact that there are NCAA rules, whether it’s credit hours or GPA requirements,” she said. They’re sensitive to those facts and they know that.”
Holleran also conceded that cheating is happening on campuses across the nation “at every level. It happens in high school, in college, even in master’s programs … It’s unfortunate.”
Curry and Casey are both expected to miss the 2012-2013 season.
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