The test optional strategy is intended to boost the pool of underrepresented applicants. First gen, kids graduating from poor schools, socio-economically challeged (think Appalachia or inner city), etc. The purpose of broadening out the application pool was not to enhance or give any advantage to athletic recruits.
"The University of Chicago, which made the SAT and ACT optional last year, reports a record enrollment this fall of first-generation, low-income and rural students and veterans." https://www.google.com/amp/s/w...uestions-of-fairness
Most, but not all, college baseball aspiring kids, will not fit into those categories (except - maybe - first gen).
Yes, and the schools did not intend to grant an athletic advantage. Athletics were not the goal. They just thought it was a good idea. They did it without running it past the NCAA compliance department at the schools. It did not even cross their minds. They just considered ti an extraciricular, like playing an intrument or taking part in Debate club.
The pentalty was not harsh. They had to void any post season play that the ineligble students participated in.