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Harvard’s Kyle Casey plans to withdraw from school amid academic scandal

Sep 11, 2012, 2:17 AM EDT

Harvard University's Casey looks to pass the ball as Vanderbilt University's Jenkins defends during their NCAA game in Albuquerque Reuters

Harvard’s attempt to repeat as Ivy League champions just got tougher.

According to SI.com’s Luke Winn, leading scorer and team co-captain senior Kyle Casey plans to withdraw from Harvard amid allegations that he and at least one other player on the men’s basketball team were involved in an academic scandal involving 125 students in a class during the spring 2012 semester.

The situation involves a take-home final in the class “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress”. The football team is also possibly implicated in this academic scandal, according to the report.

Casey, who averaged a team-leading 11.4 points and 5.5 rebounds last season for Tommy Amaker’s Crimson, was a second-team Ivy League selection as a junior and was slated to be one of five seniors on a Harvard team poised to make a run at the program’s second-straight NCAA Tournament berth.

It’s yet to be seen who the second player is named in the scandal, but Winn’s report also mentions that the 6-7 Casey’s choice to withdraw from school could preserve his final year of eligibility. Harvard’s bylaws state that if a person is found guilty of academic fraud, they could face a year’s suspension from school.

I can’t say I’m totally surprised by this. It’s the Ivy League, sure. But Amaker has been pushing the Crimson into a brighter spotlight in recent years, especially after a 26-5 season — including a 12-2 mark in the Ivy League — in 2011-12, and the pressure of that can cause mistakes to be made. It doesn’t soften the blow for Harvard, and the academic standards of a university such as it shouldn’t ever be compromised, but it unfortunately comes with the expectation to win, whether that expectation comes from the outside, or from within.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can find him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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