The obsession with increasing the reputational rankings of American colleges and universities more detrimentally impacts race-based admissions policies than does Supreme Court doctrine. It is no secret that many schools inflate, misleadingly report, or falsify records in order to pander to rankings systems like U.S. News and World Report (“U.S. News”). These systems weigh a school’s mean standardized test scores (SAT and/or ACT) heavily as one of the factors for assigning a rank. Thus, the incentive among schools playing the ratings game is to admit students with the highest SAT scores. But, if one agrees with the data that underrepresented minorities as a group perform less well than their non-minority counterparts, it is, sadly, an understandable reality that schools focusing on gaming the U.S. News system are disinclined to admit underrepresented minority students. Consequently, ratings fetishism, an unreasonable obsession with high national rankings, is ruining diversity on our college campuses. I do not make these observations casually. There are countless examples of colleges and universities manipulating the data, or even worse, knowingly deceiving U.S. News in an effort to game the system.
Leslie Yalof Garfield, Ratings Fetishism, 39 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 409 (2015), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1000/.