Monday, January 20

UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo charged in college admissions bribery scheme

UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo – who has helped bring in seven No. 1 recruiting classes during his 15 seasons with the Bruins – was among many involved in a bribery scheme admitting prospective student-athletes, according to federal court records released Tuesday. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the Isacksons' secured their younger daughter's spot at USC between 2015 and 2016. In fact, this occurred between 2017 and 2018.

This post was updated March 14 at 12:34 p.m.

UCLA was involved in a bribery scheme helping admit students to universities as student-athletes who had not played the sport competitively, according to court records released Tuesday.

UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo was one of the many allegedly involved in the scheme, which included facilitation of cheating on college entrance exams.

Salcedo has been placed on leave and will have no involvement with the soccer team while this matter is under review, said UCLA spokesperson Tod Tamberg. Matt Taylor and Phil Marfuggi, assistant coaches on the team, will lead the team in his absence.

The scheme involved parents paying William Singer – the founder of the college preparation businesses Edge College & Career Network, LLC and the Key Worldwide Foundation – approximately $25 million in total from 2011 through February to have someone take the SAT or ACT for prospective recruits, according to court records. Records indicate that KWF, a nonprofit, was used to facilitate the transactions in these scandals.

Bruce and Davina Isackson, parents of a former UCLA women’s soccer student-athlete, were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to a charging document released from District of Massachusetts Attorney’s Office.

Their older daughter was on the team in 2017 but did not play in any games and did not play competitive soccer in high school. She was not on the 2018 women’s soccer roster, but served as the women soccer’s team manager from 2016-2018, according to her LinkedIn page. She is also listed as a practice player in the UCLA women’s soccer media guide from 2017.

Salcedo received the daughter’s transcript, standardized test scores, and a falsified soccer profile in May 2016 from former USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin, according to court records.

Records indicated Salcedo then forwarded the information to a UCLA women’s soccer coach and the student was admitted to UCLA as a student-athlete, under conditions that she completed her senior year of high school and participated on the UCLA team for at least one academic year.

Former USC assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke, who is the current girl’s soccer program director at the Geffen Academy at UCLA, was also indicted by federal prosecutors and charged for racketeering. Janke and Khosroshahin received a total of $350,000 after designating students as recruits and granting them admission to USC.

Steven Masera, a former accountant and financial officer for Singer’s businesses, emailed a $250,000 invoice to Davina Isackson that was said to be a “private contribution,” in July 2016, according to records.

Records state that Bruce Isackson asked Singer to confirm in writing the $250,000 would be returned if his daughter did not receive final admission to UCLA. Singer said he would return the money.

Later that month, Davina and Bruce Isackson donated 2,150 shares of Facebook stock to KWF as a purported charitable contribution, records showed. Masera and Singer sent the parents an acknowledgment of $251,159 for their contribution.

Singer also sent Khosroshahin a check for $25,000 drawn on one of the KWF accounts following the donation of the stocks, according to court records.

In another instance, records stated Singer mailed Salcedo a $100,000 check drawn from one of the KWF accounts in 2016. In exchange for the money, Salcedo designated the son of another of Singer’s clients as a recruit for UCLA men’s soccer, despite the fact the student did not play competitive soccer, according to court records.

UCLA stated it may cancel admission or take other disciplinary actions against any student that falsified parts of their application to the university, such as a misrepresentation as a student-athlete.

After the student’s admission, records indicated Singer again paid Khosroshahin $25,000 for facilitating the transaction.

Coaches from Stanford, Yale and USC were also allegedly involved in the scheme.

The federal court records indicate Bruce and Davina Isackson also used bribery between 2017 and 2018 to secure their younger daughter a spot on the USC women’s crew team.

In June 2017, Bruce Isackson transferred $101,272 of stock and a $15,600 check to KWF. Shortly after, KWF sent a falsified crew profile of the student to Donna Heinel, a senior associate athletic director at USC, alleging their younger daughter had a number of prestigious crew awards.

USC fired Heinel and Jovan Vavic, USC’s men’s and women’s water polo coach, Tuesday over the racketeering allegations related to the college bribery scandal, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Salcedo – who has helped bring in a No. 1 recruiting class seven times – coached his 15th season with UCLA and led the Bruins to a 10-9 record during the 2018 season, including an appearance to the first round of the NCAA championship.

In a statement emailed to the university Tuesday evening, Chancellor Gene Block said he was shocked and angered to learn about the charges against UCLA faculty. He emphasized the people charged with the crimes hid it from UCLA and other universities.

“Today’s indictment makes clear that UCLA, like the other universities, was the victim of an alleged crime,” he said.

Tamberg said UCLA will cooperate with the Department of Justice and conduct its own review to investigate the allegations.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit
Editor in chief

Forburger is the 2019-2020 editor in chief. She was previously an assistant Sports editor for the women's volleyball, gymnastics, softball, swim and dive and rowing beats and was a Sports reporter before that.

Managing editor

Hong is the 2019-2020 Managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor for the women's basketball, men's water polo, women's water polo, women's tennis, and beach volleyball beats.

Teddy Rosenbluth
Sports senior staff

McCarthy is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was an assistant Sports editor in 2018-2019 for the men's tennis, women's soccer, track and field and men's volleyball beats. McCarthy was previously a reporter on the men's volleyball and men's water polo beats. He is a third-year English and history student from Atlanta, Georgia. McCarthy is an avid Tottenham Hotspur and Conor McGregor fan.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.

  • Hillary’s Taint

    Is there really much difference getting unqualified/unremarkable people into college through bribery versus Affirmative Action? At least the former is transparent and transactional.

    • s randall

      Bribery is transactional. It isn’t transparent.

  • Capablanca

    Who cares if there’s a soccer team, or crew, water polo, sailing, equestrian …sports in this scandal at other colleges? Students don’t attend these sports, and they don’t earn money to support the UCLA sports establishment. Let’s graduate more doctors, engineers, social workers, artists, scientists ..people who will do some good for the world. These applicants — whatever their race/ethnicity — need those classroom seats more than marginal or fake admits (set asides) in obscure sports.

    While at it, reconsider the focus on football and basketball. These sports might make money, and don’t take up much admissions space in that so many “scholar-athletes” leave school before getting close to graduation. Whatever happened to the UCLA concentration on academic excellence?

  • s randall
    • RoycePowell

      You mean at SUC….southern cal is undefeated national champion in college scandals #BribeOn

      • s randall

        UCLA should not be using SC as a role model.

        • RoycePowell

          I agree. UCLA needs to worry about their own situation. SC is on a whole different level.

  • RoycePowell

    How does an applicant get approved as an incoming recruit without the women’s soccer head coach not knowing about it or questioning it. What is the timeline there??

  • Sherry

    As an alum, I got an email yesterday from the UCLA Alumni network with the full version of Chancellor Gene Block’s note to the UCLA community. He mentioned that an internal investigation will be conducted on the admission process. I was wondering whether the results can be released, or partly released to the public. As a prestige public school that receives funding from taxpayers, UCLA needs to stand out from all the other private schools involved in this scandal and make a difference! I also hope Daily Bruin can follow up about this internal review mentioned in the Chancellor’s note.

    • s randall

      File a public records request.

  • Hillary’s Taint

    While he’s telling us how shocked and outraged he is over this, perhaps Gene Block can explain the logic behind giving spots for qualified students to illegal alien students? After that, maybe he can tell us about the slush fund UCLA taps to pay for the tuition of illegal aliens. ..

    Baily Bruin? How about some actual investigative journalism here? Hello? Bueller?

    • s randall

      Has any undocumented person been guilty of misrepresenting his or her status during the admissions process?

      • Hillary’s Taint

        I think by the virtue-signaling bromide, “undocumented person” you mean the legal term, “ILLEGAL ALIEN.”

        Let me help you. ILLEGAL ALIENS are in this country illegally. They don’t have the right to an admissions process, at UCLA or anywhere else. But as long as California is a sanctuary state and the social justice bros who dominate the UC Regents want to let these criminals in, how about some transparency?

        Let’s see some SAT/ACT scores (assuming such scores exist). Let’s see some GPAs. Let’s see who is paying their tuition. Are they charged the California resident special or the international student rate? Let’s then compare their scores and grades to non-athletic white and Asian admits.

        Basically, randall, half-literate illegals are taking away spots from qualified students because UC admins like to feel good about themselves. Beyond that, California taxpayers are paying for these illegals to take away those spots. At least the dumb rich white kids caught up in the scandal are paying their own way. I’ll take them over illegals any day.

        • s randall

          This is 2019. What year are you stuck in?

          • Hillary’s Taint

            The year that states still obeyed federal policy. What about you? Or are you just a dumb person?

          • s randall

            The mission of schools is to educate, it is not to enforce immigration laws. By your reasoning, the person coming by your house to read your water meter should report you for anything illegal he or she notices. We do not live in a police state.

            As for your repeated use of “illegals” in your diatribe. If you were to lexically substitute “latinxs” for “illegals” in your diatribe, it’d be removed, but you seem to have a lot of practice writing stuff that is just barely acceptable. You also know that people will conflate “illegals” with “latinxs.”

            I’m guessing that the percentage of undocumented people is very small, but we’ll never know, because it isn’t a question that gets asked on the UC application. UC’s job is to educate people. If you attended UCLA, they failed in your case.

          • Hillary’s Taint

            The mission of schools is to educate?! I thought you announced you are living in 2019. I hate to be the one to tell you there’s no Santa, but the mission of schools is to make money and perpetuate their own existence. There’s a reason Chip Kelly is the highest paid UC employee.

            Fake majors like Chicano Studies and Gender Studies exist as an income stream from dumb people–with their guaranteed student loans–who can’t handle a real major. After all, Affirmative Action, women’s soccer and illegal admits have to major in something while UCLA collects their (really my) money. And what do Gender Studies majors do with their degrees other than drive Uber and wait tables? Why they teach Gender Studies to other dumb people. And so it goes.

            Outside of STEM majors which teach a skill set, the American Liberal Arts education has turned into an expensive brainwashing session. That’s why any college campus is a predictable leftist echo chamber. Once upon a time schools taught students HOW to think, now it’s simply programming of WHAT to think.

            As to your tedious enforcement talking point, stop watching so much Rachel Maddow. Adhering to policy isn’t enforcement. I hope the day will come that any institution not following federal policy will lose all federal funding. That will wake old Gene Block and Janet out of their virtue-signaling social justice warrior stupor.

          • s randall

            The entire category of “Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender and Group Studies” at UCLA amounted to 3.34% of UCLA’s undergraduate degrees in 2017-18.

            Even if what you say is true, that portion of graduates is what they call noise. You seem to like to blow putative problems all out of proportion. I’m sure that is a skill you don’t learn in school too.

  • Hillary’s Taint

    HERE’S A THOUGHT: UCLA, lets stop admitting and hiring people simply because they are Mexican.

    • s randall

      Why don’t you stop hating people just because they are Mexican.