Money over merit: recruited athlete’s perspective on college admission scandal

Chidimma Okpara

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Shocked, disappointed, and upset. These words only begin to describe my reaction when I heard the news on Tuesday about the college admissions scandal, in which parents helped their children cheat on college entrance exams or posed them as athletic recruits.

As a recruited athlete for the Dartmouth College Women’s Tennis Team, hearing these stories of parents paying athletic coaches to designate their non-athlete children as recruits made me distraught. I couldn’t imagine that parents would go to this extent to get their children into elite colleges.

Throughout my experience with tennis, I have been taught that one must work hard and challenge oneself if they want to achieve success. I always push myself to be a better tennis player and work hard to show others that I deserve to go far in my athletic career. I put in countless hours of sweat, tears, and hard work in order to be scouted by numerous top-tier colleges and to show that I deserve to be admitted.

Being recruited is definitely not an easy path to take. I have had to juggle the academic rigors of the school and my loaded tennis schedule, but it has been worth it. Being a recruited athlete makes me feel accomplished and proud of myself because I worked hard to get where I am.

People who have cheated their way through the college process have undermined my success. These students took the easy way out, which took spots away from athletes like me, who have worked hard for years.

My hope is that this scandal shows people that even though playing by the rules is definitely harder, it is more honorable than cheating.