This current bribery sting in universities brings me back to when my youngest son was in high school. He’d always been “first pick” on basketball teams since 4th grade–known for his steals and lay up shots. But once he made varsity high school team, things started to change. He was bench warming for most of the game while less talented players stayed in while our team was losing. It didn’t make sense at first. Then I noticed the coach was wearing new suits to every game and then the gym received electric bleachers from an “unnamed donor. ”
When my son was put in the game, he would score immediately, but parents yelled at the coach to put their son back in and my son was remarkably pulled. It was getting pretty obvious that something more sinister was going on; but I wasn’t born yesterday and knew it was politics at play. Why would you take out a player that just scored three baskets? I remained quiet. One parent told me some kids were instructed to hurt my son during one of the practices so he’d be on the injury list. They did. They injured his thigh by fouling him aggressively. But he was only out for one game.
As the season was coming to an end, my son saw the writing on the wall and chose to take an after school job rather than waste one more day on a coach that didn’t appreciate his talent. Then the coach called home to chew him out after school. I took the call and read him the riot act, finally. He had the nerve to say, “No one quits my team!”
He finally admitted he was controlled by some of the parents. “Controlled” was code word for bribed. I told him he should be ashamed of himself and that my son will not be coming to the phone to take any more of his verbal abuse. I should have reported him to the principal but sometimes I let karma take over. He knows who he is and what he did.
Once parents realize they can get away with bribing in high school, they’ll bribe their way into elitist universities and even sports teams.
If there’s any silver lining to my story, the kid whose father bought the school electric bleachers and sucked at basketball turned into an alcoholic while my son graduated cum laude from college then put himself through law school at night. Sometimes doing well without the intervention of your parents is the best policy in the long run. “Builds constitution” my mother always said.
Bribing teachers and coaches at any level is unethical if not illegal. It isn’t a practice of rich and famous parents. It’s a practice of parents without integrity that think they are above the law or more deserving. And a teacher, professor, coach, or administrator that accepts a bribe has committed fraud.
These celebrities who paid for good SAT scores and bribed coaches should be behind bars as well as the coaches and teachers involved. They should lose their teaching credentials. This has to stop. I’m just glad it’s finally being exposed. Now maybe high school administrations will start examining more closely the coaches they’ve hired and nip this in the bud before it becomes standard practice.