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.