The Haverford School’s “A” for Hypocrisy

Its newest contribution to “global programming” stands awfully tall—and just so happens to play basketball

There’s a lovely, heart-warming story in today’s Inquirer about Tao Xu, a new junior at the Main Line’s upper-crusty Haverford School. Xu, who’s 18, was brought to America as part of Haverford’s efforts to increase its “global programming,” according to the head of the upper school, Matthew Green: “It’s really about making a really flavorful soup so we have a wide range of students.” Makes you feel all nice and toasty inside, that soup does—except it turns out to be nearly as hard to swallow as Green’s “global programming” bull.

Xu, who for all I know is a prince among young men, stands six-foot-11 inches tall and weighs 253 pounds. He’s still growing. And he wound up at Haverford after its basketball coach, Henry Fairfax—also the upper school’s admissions director—heard about the young member of the Chinese junior national team from a Haverford assistant coach who’d heard about him from a Philadelphian who runs a sports management firm and “develops and recruits players internationally.” So, let’s get this straight. Haverford School, whose hoops program has been in the toilet for the past decade, brings in a six-foot-11 ringer from overseas and actually dares to tell the Inquirer the move is part of a program to diversify its student body?

Come on, Mr. Green. Have the decency to set a better example for your students and call this what it is: a blatant grab for glory on the court. You couldn’t bring in, say, a four-foot-eight Chinese physics prodigy? A five-foot-nine singer? A chess player? Anything at all but an athlete who’s already been contacted by UConn—the team that won last year’s NCAA men’s hoops title? What’s the Haverford School’s honor code say? Oh yeah—“Respect, Honesty, and Courage.” I sure hope you teach better than you do.