Harvard quiz team stripped of championship titles as school celebrates NCAA win

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com  |  March 22, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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The morning after Harvard's fourteenth-seeded basketball team stunned March Madness fans with a Cinderella win over the third-seeded New Mexico, Inside Higher Ed reported on a scandal involving the school's quiz bowl team.

According to the story, National Academic Quiz Tournaments revoked four of the team's championship titles after discovering that a former student, Andy Watkins, and other students from different schools had access to information about the questions because they helped write them for middle and high school competitions. Only Harvard was stripped of any titles.

The organization couldn't confirm whether Watkins or any of the other students actually used the information to help then win competitions.

"NAQT has neither direct nor statistical evidence that these writers took advantage of their prior access in game situations, but the mere possession of it goes against competitors' expectations of fair play."

Inside Higher Ed explained:

"Andrew Watkins, of Harvard’s 'A' team (many institutions split their teams for tournaments), had accessed 'questions-by-writer' and/or 'category' pages directly prior to the NAQT Intercollegiate Championship Tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This gave Watkins, who graduated in 2011, access to the first 40 characters of upcoming tournament questions. Although there are blocks in place to prevent accessing questions even in part, Watkins was able to circumvent them."

Watkins told NAQT that he had taken part in competitions in "good faith."

“I hold my teammates from all three years to be champions today exactly as they were yesterday," he said. "I hope that they will consider themselves in the same light, even if my indiscretions mean that the record books cannot.”

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