The recent college admissions scandal that saw wealthy elites across the country bribing their children's way into top-tier universities has ignited a furious public debate about the education system. While many people are bickering about the way that the college admissions scandal reflects poorly upon financial elites, however, little attention is being paid to how it demonstrated the way that coaches rig the system in favor of student athletes who often don't deserve their lofty status.
The college admissions scandal demonstrates that certain athletes, particularly rich white ones, gain an advantage over other, more-deserving students. Here's why the system should change.
It was rigged from the start
It would be foolish to assert that the college admissions process was ever fair, especially insofar as student athletics are concerned. At least 50 people were accused in what's become the biggest admissions fraud ever uncovered, with actresses and wealthy business owners being scooped up by authorities for their wrongdoing. Unfortunately, these parents often carried out this fraud without the knowledge or consent of their children, which has led to frustrating embarrassment and the dropping out of some students caught up in the scandal.
Colleges have always enabled the elite class to get in through "legacy admissions," which give you a higher probability of acceptance if your parents went to the same university you're applying to, an absurd and illogical privilege meant to keep the donations wheel greased and rolling. This particular scandal is so insidious partly because it detriments minority athletes in particular, who often make up the overwhelming majority of the labor force of profitable sports programs like Basketball or Football that fund non-profitable, white-dominated programs.
None of the students caught up in the recent admissions scandal received athletic scholarships to help purchase jogger scrubs and other supplies to help them perform. But many literally photoshopped their faces onto the bodies of talented athletes in an effort to taut their faux-extracurricular prowess. High-revenue programs like Football and Basketball, which are dominated by minority students of color, have intense scrutiny that frequently punish student athletes for the slightest infraction. Low-revenue programs dominated by White students, however, like Water Polo (famously featured in the scandal) have virtually no oversight at all, enabling the coaches in those areas to push students through when they otherwise should be denied entrance.
The racial bias in sports must stop
The racial bias in college sports is well-documented, and this latest scandal only drives the issue home to an unprecedented extent. Student athletes of color are already dealing with an uphill battle, being forced to grapple with everything from everyday racism to institutional restraints on their success. To put another hurdle in their way is yet another grave injustice that they must suffer from in silence. A serious cleanup of the education and athletic systems in this country is sorely overdue.
The struggles of Asian-Americans in applying to certain universities is well-documented, but little serious action has been taken to solve this issue. Similarly, this scandal will eventually fade away and become forgotten by the public and the collegiate world in general unless sustained public support can be garnered to clean up the system and hold those responsible for these grave misdeeds accountable.
In Ivy League institutions, 65 percent of all athletes at White, and it's indisputable that athletes are generally treated with lower admission standards than non-athletes vying for a spot in a university. This systemic injustice reflects the way that people of color are routinely held back from success in this country. The world of sports may claim to champion the rights of the minorities who rise to the top, but in reality, college sports are proving to be nothing more than affirmative action for White students who can bribe their way into the system.