American Bar Association / ABA, Law Schools, LSAT, Rankings, U.S. News

University of Illinois Law School Fined and Censured For Inflated LSAT Scandal

Illinois College of Law

Well, it’s not like the Penn State sanctions. But it’s not like the University of Illinois College of Law was covering up a Jerry Sandusky. The school was inflating the LSAT scores it reported to the American Bar Association.

Today the ABA fined Illinois Law $250,000. The ABA also censured the law school.

The Chicago Tribune reports that this is the first time the ABA has fined a law school for inaccurate consumer information. I guess that’s a step in the right direction. Still, considering the average salary for an Illinois College of Law full professor is $194,624, it’s hard to see the fine meaning very much to the school’s operations…

To bring you back up to speed, Illinois has already admitted their wrongdoing. They’ve just maintained that the false LSAT score reports were the actions of one lone administrator.

The Tribune reports that the ABA didn’t really buy Illinois’s theory:

While U. of I. officials have said a former admissions dean acted alone in inflating data, the ABA found that U. of I. had created an environment that placed too much emphasis on rankings.

To that end, the ABA also is forcing U. of I. to end an early entrance program that had been touted as a way to recruit top U. of I. undergraduates.

Sports fans will know that if we were talking about football, this finding would be the dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge. But we already know that the NCAA polices college athletics much more seriously than the ABA polices law school behavior. These punishments feel weak in the context of the Illinois scandal:

It is the first time the American Bar Association has fined a university for reporting inaccurate consumer data, according to an ABA spokesman.

The sanctions also require that the law school post a copy of the censure in a prominent spots on its web site and hire a compliance monitor for the next two years to monitor the school’s admissions process and data reporting.

As if prospective law students care what’s on a website. We know potential students care about a school’s U.S. News rank, and that’s why Illinois manipulated their LSAT statistics in the first place.

I’m sure Illinois will be eager to put this scandal behind them, but it’s not clear that these punishments will serve as any kind of deterrent to the next school that wants to try to game the rankings.

U. of I. law school fined $250,000 for false admissions data [Chicago Tribune]

Earlier: Illinois Law and the Lone Gunman Theory of Admissions Fraud
Illinois Law Restates Its Numbers: The Deception is Deeper Than We Thought

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