"The NCAA has gotten a lot of hell over this thing," he says. "I think they're just trying to get themselves off the hook. They're looking for a fall guy. Look, if anyone was going to cheat on these exams, it would be easier to do it on a National Test Date when there are 300 people in the room. I was the only one there that night, and I didn't see any cheating." Says Dr. Davidsen, "There is no reason to doubt that Dr. Verge did anything other than follow our normal procedure."
Verge says further he does not consider the number of erasures all that unusual, particularly for black students who were nervous and unsure of themselves. "The test," he said, "is white."
Bell, for his part, objects to his being described in news stories after the Council's decision as "an unnamed assistant to the athletic director, no longer with the university."
"I left the university for what I thought was a better job," he said. "Not, as that sounds, as the result of the investigation. I merely arranged for the boys to be tested. I have no knowledge of anything else. You don't think I'd be foolish enough to jeopardize my career over something like this."
The fact remains that without the erasures, McAlister would not have had a qualifying score under the 1.6 rule. According to Assistant NCAA Executive Director Warren Brown, McAlister did not score high enough in his May SAT exam, and the ACT exam without erasures would have placed him at a comparable level.
No matter what the outcome, UCLA now finds itself enmeshed in a scandal reminiscent of a more cynical age in college football. And, saddest of all, its finest athlete sits disconsolately on the sidelines.