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Opinion column: College admissions scam: Fast track to jail?

Is it possible to have a "new" news story? We now have a college admission's scandal. Breaking stories of wealth and influence traded for admission to some of the nation's most prestigious colleges are just now unfolding.

Allegedly, wealthy people from Hollywood stars to corporate CEOs are being named for spending hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to obtain a son's or daughter's admission to some of America's most prestigious universities.

Some students have reportedly received athletic team and even academic recognition based on financial influence. There will be more to come from this story.

"Whatever it takes to get ahead," is the philosophy of a segment of our culture. Sometimes this is seen on the Interstate when one motorist endangers hundreds of others by driving a hundred miles per hour while weaving in and out of traffic. Where does this put him and all the interstate drivers? In a very dangerous setting. The reckless driver takes on the attitude, "To heck with the world. The interstate is all about me." Too often this selfish attitude maims and kills others.

Criminals have adopted this philosophy. Their attitude is, "Why work hard? Just rob a store or a bank." This attitude hurts others and eventually lands the criminal in jail.

Job seekers who pad their resumes with false degrees and bogus glorious achievements have to live in fear that someone will check out their credentials. Their scam hurts the employer because they aren't really as competent as they profess and other employees and potential other real candidates are hurt by competing with liars.

The attitude trickles down to the used car dealer who is not forthcoming about what is really wrong with the car you are buying, or the maid who finds a way to steal something every time he or she cleans a room or someone's house.

Can you imagine a high school graduate being placed on an athletic team who has never played the sport before? All for money? What is life really going to be like for that kid when the practice session starts?

What happens when the college professor starts grading papers at Yale for the kid who got accepted based on falsified information, but can't write a paper or read see Spot run? Is someone going to keep the money flowing for the student to receive passing grades? What happens when the student is passed through graduation? How long will he or she remain employed?

Being a celebrity and big money will obviously get you somewhere. Falsifying information and bribing people may move you further along the way. Eventually the way is a dead end, if not a fast track to jail.

(Glenn Mollette is an author and columnist in Washington)