March 12, 2019 / 4:18 PM / 3 months ago

College coaches among 50 indicted in college entrance exam scandal

Nine current or former college coaches are among the 50 people indicted in a nationwide college admissions scandal, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday in Boston.

John Vandemoer arrives at the federal courthouse to face charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The alleged scheme involved getting students admitted to some of the top schools in the country as recruited athletes — regardless of athletic ability — and helping those applicants cheat on their entrance exams, according to the documents.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling called it the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the department of justice.”

He said part of the charges were related to securing admission to elite colleges by bribing coaches under false pretenses.

“In return for bribes, these coaches agreed to pretend that certain applicants were recruited, competitive athletes, when, in fact, the applicants were not. As the coaches knew, the students’ athletic credentials had been fabricated.”

The documents unsealed from the investigation — called Operation Varsity Blues — showed Tuesday that Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith is alleged to have helped non-recruits get into the prestigious Ivy League school by claiming they were recruits.

The charges involved 33 parents “who paid enormous sums to guarantee their children’s admissions to certain schools through the use of bribes and fake academic and athletic credentials,” Lelling said.

One of the schemes involved parents paying William Singer, the founder of a college prep business, $15,000 to $75,000 to have someone take the SAT or ACT for their children. He was expected to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon, according to prosecutors at a press conference.

The schools involved — Stanford, UCLA, Wake Forest, Yale, Georgetown, University of Texas, University of San Diego, USC — are not believed to have taken part in wrongdoing. The indictment documents, for example, suggest Meredith accepted funds via a charitable organization and did not report any of the details of the plot to Yale officials, including payments.

Other named in the indictment are current Texas tennis coach and former Kansas tennis coach Michael Center, Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, several USC coaches and UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo.

Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the indicted, according to reports.

—Field Level Media

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