Colleges Rethink Athletic Special Admissions in Wake of Indictments

Brian Costa, Melissa Korn and Rachel Bachman:

The largest college-admissions fraud ever prosecuted by federal authorities was engineered by a college-admissions consultant and a sprawling web of wealthy parents and allegedly corrupt coaches. But it was made easier by a system that is largely unpoliced and ripe for exploitation: the conferring of special admissions status to nonscholarship athletes.

The scandal is prompting a rethinking of this approach. On Friday, Yale President Peter Salovey said the school—whose former longtime women’s soccer coach, Rudy Meredith, was charged in the case—will ask outside advisers to recommend changes to “help us detect and prevent efforts to defraud our admissions process.”

Football and men’s basketball teams, which generate most of the revenue for athletic departments, are largely filled out with scholarship athletes. Division I men’s basketball teams, for instance, can have up to 13 scholarship players, enough for an entire roster. These athletes are far more valuable to schools and are more carefully evaluated than the phony athletes Mr. Singer put forward.