Yale University Admissions show the Difficulty of Proving Discrimination

Yale University

The Department of Justice recently filed suit against Yale University for discriminating against Caucasian and Asian students. It’s going to be just as difficult to prove this discrimination as it is to prove against companies that refuse to hire black or homosexual candidates. This is where government intervention often appears to be a force of good but it really is not. Let me explain.

In a nutshell, the discriminating agency can deny the choice was made because of color of skin, sexual orientation, or any external factor. My father argued a Supreme Court case in the 1960s involving discrimination in housing. He won that case but, and this is important, doing so did not stop white people from preventing blacks moving into their neighborhoods. There are plenty of black people in St. Louis who can affirm the practice is still thriving.

In this case the shoe is on the other foot. Basically, kids from impoverished regions of the country who attend schools without the many academic advantages have no little or no chance to score as well on tests as kids from wealthy school districts, or beat them on the football field. The kids with a huge wealth gap advantage in tutors, trainers, equipment, study material, study time, and other things almost always do better on standardized tests.

Let me make this a little more personal so you can see the point of view of the school. Let’s imagine you are hiring for a position. You have two candidates. One candidate comes from an elite educational environment with all the advantages. The other comes from a poor district with no advantages. Now, you give them both a business-oriented test for which the average score is 50. The elite candidate scores 55 and the poor candidate scores 51. But you look in your database and candidates coming from the elite environment average 64 on the test while those from the poor section average 35. So, you’ve got a candidate who scored 16 points above average for their background and one that scored 9 below from their own. One is clearly an overachiever while the other is an underachiever. Who do you hire?

This is what Yale University and other elite educational schools face everyday when they must choose who to admit. Yale University often chooses the minority student despite having what appears to be a worse academic record. Now, it’s also entirely possible Yale University picks the minority student because the admission counselor hates Asians, but this is difficult to prove. People will always be able to come up with some rational as to why the black family can’t move into the neighborhood besides blatant discrimination. We see it all the time here in St. Louis and I’m sure in your part of the world also.

Now that I’ve explained the problem I’m finally getting to the point of this article. The government cannot fix this problem and often does more harm than good when they try. Let’s imagine the Justice Department is successful in forcing Yale University to admit students based solely on their test scores. Are we not removing the freedom of the school to pick who they want to be members? Is it not their school?

It’s also important to understand it was earlier rulings making discrimination illegal that allow the Justice Department to file this lawsuit against Yale University in the first place. If discrimination was not outlawed by the government, Yale is free to do as it will.

To me that’s the important point. Discrimination didn’t stop because government passed a law. People still speed, people still take drugs, people still discriminate, they just hide it better.

Yale University should be allowed to admit whomever it wants, if they refuse overachieving minority students who will undoubtedly succeed, that’s their loss.

Tom Liberman

Just Let Kids Like Olivia Jade Giannulli into College

Olivia Jade

I know it won’t be a popular opinion but I think the only real way to stop the behavior associated with the college admission scandal is to simply let kids like Olivia Jade Giannulli into school in their own category. If Olivia Jade and the legion of kids like her, who have the wherewithal to not only pay for their education but eventually fund many other students through future donations, want to attend a particular college, just let them in, no questions asked.

Simply create a category separate from normal admission so they don’t take anyone else’s spot. We’ve got some wealthy kids with rich parents who want their kid at a particular institution. If the school lets them in, they pay lots of money today and much more in the future. This allows the educational institution to flourish. The downside? I suppose all the people who are getting money off the bribery, such as Mark Riddell, will have to find a new way to finance their lives but other than that, I don’t see a problem.

The issue is basically that kids like Olivia Jade have always had, and always will have, every advantage in life. They get special tutoring, the best instructors, training at elite institutions, and other perks that less wealthy kids do not. It’s reality whether we like it or not. Some of those super-wealthy kids will do great things with the advantages they are given while others will squander them but that’s their business.

I know many people will complain about the inherent unfairness of a system such as I propose. Poor and middle-class kids have to work extremely hard under disadvantageous conditions to get the same thing being given to rich kids in exchange for lots of money. I agree, it’s unfair. Welcome to life.

Rich kids, children of important people within the academic institution, excellent athletes, and others have always been given far more breaks than those without such connections. It doesn’t stop at school either. Such children get better jobs with less effort and receive more chances when they fail.

My point is there is no stopping such behavior so we might as well allow it under a stated structure. Olivia Jade is allowed into USC with all the advantages such an education entails but she doesn’t take up a spot some other kid earned.

In the end, as the expression goes, the cream rises to the top. If such rich children are allowed into school along with their poor but harder working counterparts, eventually the one who does the best job will rise the highest. Maybe Olivia Jade will find great success in life but I’d guess someone like Rose Campion will achieve more. In the end, it’s up to them. Sometimes having to work harder for something is a good thing, even if it’s unfair.

Tom Liberman

Not Enough to Eat for Scholarship Athletes

Follow the MoneyThe true nature of the NCAA was on full display when the president of that organization agreed that certain rules about food were “absurd”.

What I’d like to talk about today is why the NCAA has rules about how much food the student-athlete gets. Before I talk about that I’d like to honestly discuss many of the misconceptions people have about the “full-ride” scholarship that the student-athlete receives.

When I read through the comments on stories like the one above, I find there are many people honestly misinformed. Here are some of the most basic misconceptions.

Assumption

The scholarship entitles the student-athlete to a free college experience including books, classes, food, room, and travel to games.

Reality

An athletic scholarship is based on a certain formula and the average Division I scholarship student-athlete pays $2,951 to attend the school.

Assumption

The student-athlete receives a four-year scholarship.

Reality

Four year scholarships ended in 1973 and all athletic scholarships are for one year. When a student-athlete is injured or sees a performance drop such that they will not be able to compete for the team, they are generally not offered a scholarship for the subsequent year. This is waived if the injury appears to be short-term in nature and the student-athlete will recover to be able to contribute the following season.

Assumption

A four-year education is worth millions of dollars.

Reality

Tuition inflation means that most students do not pay anywhere near the full tuition to attend a university. As an example, my niece attends Case Western University which has a stated total annual expense of $60,129 of which $42,766 is tuition. The reality is that almost 98% of the students receive financial aid that cut costs more than in half. The stated cost of an education in this country is far higher than its real cost.

My Point

What I really want to talk about today is why the NCAA has a rule about whether putting cream cheese on a bagel constitutes a meal. Yes, that’s the rule that the original article is about.

The NCAA argues that they are defending the integrity of the sport by preventing schools from “bidding” on a student athlete’s service. That if the field is anything other than exactly equal those schools with a larger a financial base will get the best players to the detriment of the sport in general.

Thus they have a massive rule book filled with things that define how much food a school is allowed to provide to a student. A school is allowed to feed them three times a day and student-athletes are forbidden to remove any food from the cafeteria to be eaten at a later time (another misconception). Students are allowed to be given snacks although the amount of food is strictly regulated to prevent rule-breakers from sneaking food to the kids.

These kids are young, growing men spending a great part of their day in vigorous physical exercise. I was once a young man who spent hours a day practicing and playing sports. I was hungry constantly. From the time I arrived home from school until I went to bed I was basically eating. I’m 5′ 7″ and weighed 130 at the time (not anymore).

My point is that the NCAA’s stated goal of keeping one school from having a competitive advantage over another school is merely a smokescreen. The reality is that college football and basketball generates huge amounts of revenue from sources that will be a surprise to many of my readers.

Texas A&M auctioned off replica helmets signed by Johnny Manziel and other team stars for $15K each. Johnny Manziel, unlike every other non-student-athlete, is not allowed to sell his signature.

Schools auction off seats at their various alumni dinners for thousands of dollars. The more someone pays the better table they get with the star athletes sitting with them.

Athletic apparel companies give millions to the schools which “redistribute” it to the coaches. This new strategy came into being in 2010 when the nature of Shoe Contracts became public. The athletic companies used to give the money directly to the coaches but the rank hypocrisy turned people off.

Coaches get paid in exclusive country club memberships, “Ask the Coach” media contracts, and a plethora of other non-salary revenue. The President of the NCAA is paid well over seven figures. The entire organization is tax-exempt.

I think it’s important not to lie to ourselves. The NCAA is not in the business of keeping the integrity of the sport intact. They are in the business of ensuring their cash-cow keeps churning dollars.

A lot of people benefit from the way the NCAA currently operates from the fans, to the construction companies building stadium, to politicians sitting for free in luxury boxes, to NCAA employees jetting around the country on private jets provided by the wealthy who want access to the glory of the athletes, to the seven-figure salaried announcers, to the fans who enjoy the game, and to the players who get to go to school.

All I’m asking for is a little equity between all those interested parties.

I don’t begrudge the networks their advertising revenue, the construction companies their profits, the coaches, athletic directors, sideline reporters, and countless others their salaries.

The current system strikes me as grossly unfair to the student-athletes who are the underpinnings upon which all other profits are based. It’s strikes me as anti-American. It hits me in my Libertarian guts.

The value of a NCAA Division I football and basketball player has increased by an almost astronomical amount in the last twenty years and their remuneration remains unchanged.

I don’t like it and I don’t like the lie the NCAA tells to justify it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Broken Throne
Next Release: The Black Sphere

7 Million Chinese College Graduates

China College GraduatesThere was an interesting article in the news this morning about how a large number of college graduates in China are causing an employment problem in that nation. Larger numbers of graduates make the job market more difficult to penetrate.

It was an interesting premise but not what I took from the article.

If China is graduating seven million highly educated students each year and the United States is producing fewer that means a shift of brain power in the world. An interesting article here shows how China has already surpassed the United States in college graduates and India will do so soon.

This shift of intelligence is changing the dynamics of power and the role of the United States in the world. It’s actually a good thing that countries like China and India are graduating more students and empowering young women. This has many beneficial effects for the world including decreasing population growth and increasing general wealth and well-being. However, it is also a challenge to the United States.

I wrote not long ago about how there is a politically motivated movement to discredit science in the United States. There is a general undercurrent of disdain for academia and intellectual achievement. The power structure of the world is changing as we continue to move from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. The countries that embrace this change will lead this new world in the same way the United States led during the Industrial Revolution.

Graduating college students is directly related to new technology, new ideas, and a new way of producing wealth. I’m not suggesting everyone should go to college, that a college degree is the end-all goal of every single person. I am suggesting that the nation that produces the largest number of intelligent people will have an advantage in the new world.

As I said, I’m thrilled to see China, India, and other nations educating their youth and making the entire world a better place. I’m eager for the days of abundant and cheap energy, super-fast transportation, and a stable population with plenty of food and goods for all.

I’m not so encouraged by my country’s response to the gauntlet that has been thrown down by the emerging world, and by Europe and other places. Economic power is, in many ways, military power. If the United States is not making the important breakthroughs, if the United States is not leading the way then we will be following. In some ways we are already following.

China and India have a huge advantage in massive populations but the underlying issue is society’s emphasis on education. It’s stronger in other nations than it is in the United States.

My main fear is that as the United States continues to fall from our preeminent position of power in the world that the citizens of my country will grow increasingly frightened. That we will elect officials who stoke this fear and offer draconian solutions to “save” our nation. That the very tenants of the Founding Fathers will be discarded in order to make us “safe”. On a personal level, that my freedom will be taken away.

In order to combat this decline and this fear I say emphasize education, teach people critical thinking skills, and venerate science.

Let us not fear this new world but instead embrace it and join it as an equal.

 

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt