(Reuters) - Nine current or former college coaches, as well as an associate athletic director, were charged by federal prosecutors in Boston on Tuesday in the biggest admissions fraud scheme uncovered in the United States.
According to court documents, they are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for designating admissions candidates as recruited athletes to increase their chances of gaining acceptance at elite universities.
The following are the actions taken against them by universities:
** Wake Forest University placed head women’s volleyball coach Bill Ferguson on administrative leave on Tuesday. Ferguson, 48, was accused of accepting $100,000 for helping a student gain acceptance to the North Carolina university when she was placed on a wait list.
** University of California at Los Angeles placed head men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo on leave on Tuesday after learning he was charged with accepting up to $200,000 for helping two students gain admission by posing as competitive soccer players.
“He will have no involvement with the soccer team while this matter is under review,” UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg said.
** Stanford University fired head sailing coach John Vandemoer on Tuesday, hours before he pleaded guilty to accepting more than $100,000 for helping students with fake sailing credentials to gain admission as recruited athletes. Vandemoer’s attorney suggested an 18-month prison sentence for the former coach in the plea deal.
** University of Texas placed men’s tennis coach Michael Center on administrative leave on Tuesday after learning that he was accused of accepting approximately $100,000 to designate a student as a recruit for his team although the applicant did not play competitive tennis.
** The University of Southern California fired associate athletic director Donna Heinel and men’s and women’s water polo coach Jovan Vavic in connection with the conspiracy. Prosecutors accused Heinel and Vavic with receiving around $1.3 million and $250,000 respectively in exchange for helping candidates who faked their athletic profiles to gain admission.
** Rudy Meredith, who was the head coach of Yale women’s soccer for 24 years, stepped down suddenly in November, months after the criminal complaint said he had begun cooperating with the federal investigation. At the time, the university showered praise on the decorated coach.
According to court documents, Meredith designated an applicant as a recruit for the Yale women’s soccer team although he knew she did not play competitive soccer, and he accepted $400,000 for the favor when she was accepted in January 2018.
** In 2013, the University of Southern California fired former women’s soccer coach Ali Khoroshahin and former assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke. On Tuesday, they were charged with receiving $350,000 for recognizing four students as recruited athletes who did not play competitive soccer.
** Gordon Ernst, former head coach of Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis, accepted $2.7 million in bribes between 2012 and 2018 to help students gain admission by designating at least 12 applicants as tennis recruits. Georgetown placed Ernst on leave in December 2017 after the admissions office “identified irregularities in his recruitment practices,” the university’s communications team said in a letter to the community on Tuesday. The school’s internal investigation found that Ernst had violated admission rules, and he was fired in 2018.
Compiled by Gabriella Borter; editing by Grant McCool