Enough with Harvard’s ‘shady recruiting’ already

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It should come as no surprise that Harvard’s surge into national prominence as a basketball program coincided with their ability to clean up on the recruiting trail.

You don’t need to be able to get into Harvard to figure out why: the more talent you bring into the program, the better you are going to be. The problem, however, is that this has ruffled some feathers in the Ivy League.

In order to bring in a student-athlete in this conference, the player has to be at a certain academic standard, as measured by the API. The API is a formula that takes GPA, class rank and standardized test scores and spits out a number, and if that number is not above a certain level, you cannot play a sport in the Ivy League.

Now, Harvard has always held themselves to a higher standard when it comes to admitting athletes, but under Tommy Amaker the Crimson have had their cut-line fall closer to the Ivy League standard. And as Thayer Evans noted, this is not exactly ingratiating the Crimson with the rest of the conference.

“They clearly made things easier for the new staff,” a former Ivy League assistant coach told Evans anonymously. “The new staff was definitely able to recruit a different type player than the old one.”

And explain to me how this is a problem?

There is a cut-line in the Ivy League. Harvard is adhering to that cut-line. Just because they aren’t limiting their recruiting to Rhodes Scholars does not mean that they are admitting anyone capable of signing their name on a letter of intent.

I wrote a lengthy, in-depth feature on Harvard’s recruiting back in August. The Crimson are recruiting players that are smart kids concerned about a future beyond basketball. Would those kids get into Harvard without basketball?

Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s not the point. Harvard’s players are earning their education. The coaches aren’t doing anything that breaks any rule.

So remind me again: what is the problem?