In 1946 Harvard competed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It wasn't until 2012 that they made a return trip – only the second in school history.
They graduated Keith Wright, who led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring, as well as Oliver McNally who played more minutes than anyone else (and rarely missed a free throw). But they returned a solid core which included three starters, some key reserves, and they seasoned that with a solid group of freshmen.
In short, Tommy Amaker had this program rolling. They even set the schedule up for a tourney run – they're travelling to UMass, St. Joe's, UConn, Cal, St. Mary's and Memphis. With some good wins they could do something the Ivy League doesn't do: receive an at large bid on Selection Sunday.
But then this. There is a case of widespread academic misconduct at Harvard and the basketball team is caught up in it. The senior co-captains are likely gone. They say it's just for a season, but things rarely work out that way.
So now Harvard has to navigate that schedule while playing role players as starters, and end-of-bench guys as role players.
Good luck with that.
People are acting surprised that Harvard students are involved in an academic scandal – but it shouldn't be surprising. What it should be is grossly disappointing for Harvard fans who thought their program was on the verge of something special.