Wednesday, February 26

USC, Stanford among universities embroiled in athletic admissions scandal

(Creative commons photo by Brion Vibber, via Wikimedia Commons)

The federal investigation into admission and recruiting violations has found its way to UCLA, but several other athletics departments are implicated in the situation as well. Sailing, rowing, soccer and tennis programs across the country have been discovered to have been falsifying test scores and athletic experience to help prospective students gain admission to top schools, with dozens of coaches, parents and administrators already being indicted.

Gabriel McCarthy, assistant Sports editor

USC was involved in the same college admissions cheating scheme as UCLA.

USC will review its student population to determine if any additional students are connected to the scheme, and all outstanding USC applicants with ties to the fraudulent admissions scheme will have their admission revoked.

The architect of the scheme, Rick Singer, had bribed a number of university officials through the Key Worldwide Foundation in order to designate students as student-athletes and guarantee them admission to the university.

Senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and men’s and women’s water polo head coach Jovan Vavic were both terminated following their indictment in the investigation.

Heinel received payments of more than $1.3 million to her USC accounts between 2014 and 2018 in order to facilitate the admission of more than two dozen students. Singer made payments totaling $250,000 that funded Vavic’s water polo teams and also made fabricated scholarships in order to pay for Vavic’s children’s private education.

Former USC assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke and former USC women’s soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin were both charged with racketeering. Janke and Khosroshahin received a total of $350,000 after designating students as four-star recruits and granting them admission to USC, despite the students never having played competitive soccer.

Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor

Fellow Pac-12 rival Stanford is also implicated in the scandal, spearheaded by former sailing coach John Vandemoer.

Vandemoer pled guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy on Tuesday – the same charges handed down to UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo and the rest of the coaches involved. Vandemoer was fired Tuesday morning after it was discovered he took $270,000 in bribes.

The former coach helped admit multiple students, claiming they were competitive sailors when, in reality, they were not. He took a $110,000 payment from Singer – designated as a charitable donation to the program – in May 2018 after agreeing to hold a spot for the prospective student the prior summer.

That student did not ultimately enroll in Stanford, but in the summer of 2018, Vandemoer asked for $500,000 from Singer to save the spot for another one of his clients. That teen did not end up applying, but Singer still sent a $160,000 check to serve as a deposit for future clients.

Vandemoer – the only one of the coaches to plead guilty as of Wednesday – will have his sentencing hearing June 12 in Massachusetts.

Gabriel McCarthy, assistant Sports editor

Yale was also connected to the admissions scandal by way of Janke. Singer had facilitated the payment of $1.2 million dollars in 2017 from an applicant’s family in order to guarantee the student’s place at Yale. Janke created a fabricated soccer profile in order to provide foundation for the student’s recruitment as a student athlete.

Janke was instructed by Singer to detail in the student’s athletic profile that she was played under Janke or Khosroshahin at Academy FC Newport and was also a member of the JR National Development team in China. After the athletic profile was completed, Singer sent the information to then-Yale women’s soccer coach Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith.

Meredith coached the Bulldogs from 1995 to late 2018. Meredith received a payment of $400,000 from one of the KWF accounts after designating the student one of the recruiting places on the women’s soccer team and granting her admission to the school.

Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor

Gordon Ernst – former coach of Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis – was also implicated in the nationwide scandal.

Ernst aided the enrollment process of 12 students to the university by helping them be admitted as student-athletes. Some of these prospective applicants had never played competitive tennis, and 33 parents were indicted in the case – including Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez, Stephen Semprevivo, Elisabeth Kimmel and Douglas Hodge.

All of those parents have had kids enrolled in Georgetown since 2012, a period in which Ernst took a total of $2.7 million in bribes. Georgetown had discovered Ernst’s admission and recruiting violations in an internal investigation while he was still with the program before he left for the University of Rhode Island in 2018.

Georgetown claimed to be cooperating with the investigation and did not indicate if school or athletics officials were implicated as well.

Ernst was Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama’s personal tennis instructor and was enshrined in the USTA New England Hall of Fame in 2015.

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.

Sports editor

Connon is the Sports editor and a reporter on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, women's golf, men's golf and cross country beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats. Connon also currently contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment. Connon is a third-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.

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