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The Admission Scheme as a Network

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/national-international/College-Entrance-Exam-Cheating-Scandal-Indictment-FBI-US-Attorney-Boston-507030761.html

The 2019 college admission scheme was a criminal conspiracy in which bribery and fraud was used in order to affect the undergraduate admission of various students to top universities in the United States. For our purposes this is an interesting topic because we can analyze the different ties between people involved in this case and get an understanding of how this worked.

At the center, arguably as the ego in the network is William Rick Singer. Singer was the one who spoke to the parents about their children’s chances at top school and then would have the students labeled as recruited athletes through coaches they had bribed or they would request that the students have special accommodations during exams and would then help them cheat during the exam among other things. 

This brings us to coaches at the universities, the consulting company who photoshopped students to look as if they played sports, and exam administrators who let others help the students during exams. Singer had strong ties to these people because he worked directly with them and more importantly, because they too knew they were participating in criminal activities. The last key component to this graph are the parents. Again, singer had strong relationships to the parents because they knowingly accepted and paid for his services. However we have one more set of components that we should include: the students. The students have a strong tie to their parents but they have a weak tie to Singer since there is little to no proof that they were involved in the criminal activity. Thus we have 1 giant connected component.

Alternatively, we can look at this scheme as a game while still considering the ties in the network. In the first step we have Singer approach parents with his services, the parents have the choice of accepting and reaping an immediate benefit while running the risk of potentially being caught in the future or they decline and their child has only their own merit to get them accepted to these universities but on the bright side they have no criminal activity that can hurt them in the future. A few parents accept the “help” and take the chance. Fast forward and now Singer is faced with the choice of keeping quiet and serving his sentence or cooperating and potentially facing a lesser sentence. He chooses to cooperate and now the ones with most at stake are those with close ties to him. 

As we can see with this social network these ties can affect how a game plays out or even how real life can play out base on our networks and our choices.

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