EDITORIAL: Let's hope college admissions scandal creates more level playing field

York Dispatch
William "Rick" Singer founder of the Edge College & Career Network, departs federal court in Boston on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, after he pleaded guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Operation Varsity Blues revealed the ugly underbelly of college admissions.
  • The case brought by the feds alleged a wide array of cheating and bribery.
  • The case involves famous actresses and powerful chief executive officers.

Every parent wants to do right by their children.

Mothers and fathers everywhere want to do everything they can to ensure that their sons and daughters are safe, happy and successful.

Sometimes, however, the parental desire to smooth the road to Easy Street for their offspring veers wildly off course.

Unfortunately, this is one of those times.

An admissions scandal has rocked the elite college world.

It’s a story that has all the ingredients of a second-rate Hollywood soap opera: cheating and bribery, famous actresses and powerful chief executive officers.

A poster containing a photo of William "Rick" Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network, is displayed during a news conference Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Boston, where indictments in a sweeping college admissions bribery scandal were announced. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Operation Varsity Blues: At the heart of the matter, according to the U.S. Justice Department, is William "Rick" Singer, who allegedly took in more than $25 million in “donations” to his foundation.

According to the feds, in a case it calls Operation Varsity Blues, Singer then proceeded to use that money to commit all manner of illegal activities to make sure that the children of the rich and famous got into prestigious colleges.

The sordid details and featured characters in this fiasco have become well known. In many ways, it’s a condemnation of our society as a whole, where the elite can easily use their power, money and privilege to unfairly reinforce their own positions and that of their children.

TV stars and coaches charged in college bribery scheme

Lots of blame to go around: As with many a tragedy, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The primary culprits in this sad tale are the parents, who tragically forgot that their most important role is to raise children of high character, not high income.

Yes, the parents may have greased the skids for their children to unfairly gain admission to elite schools, which often pave the way to elite careers, but at what real-life cost? They’re raising a generation of entitled little angels who have no concept of traditional values such as hard work and earning only what you deserve.

If the No. 1 culprits are the parents, the No. 1A culprits are the colleges, who have long given favorable admissions treatment to children from powerful donor families. Naturally, those undeserved admissions came with significant “gifts” for buildings, endowments, etc.

Meanwhile, much more deserving, but much poorer, applicants were denied admission.

As the saying goes, money talks, while … well you know the rest.

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Finally, the admissions scammers, such as Singer, should not be forgotten. They’ve developed a nice little cottage industry based on cheating, deception and corruption.

When Operation Varsity Blues finally reaches its conclusion in the courts, let’s hope that none of the major culprits escapes significant punishment.

History, however, tells us that may not be the case. The rich and powerful can afford high-priced and talented lawyers with an array of legal weapons at their disposal.

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Some good may emerge from case: Still, no matter how the case is eventually resolved, it’s revealed the ugly underbelly of college admissions. In the long run, that should be a good thing.

The scammers may not be as brazen in committing their frauds, the parents may not be as quick to employ the flimflam artists, and the colleges may not be as susceptible to the siren call from big-money donors.

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The rich and powerful will always have unfair advantages in college admissions. It's the nature of our society. Operation Varsity Blues, however, may help level the playing field just a little.

Our more worthy, but poorer, students deserve at least that much.