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Cash Over Credentials

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Cash Over Credentials

REX/ Shutterstock

REX/ Shutterstock

REX/ Shutterstock

Jake Dailey, Website Editor

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On Tuesday March 12th, the FBI charged 50 people in relation to a bribery scheme, called Operation Varsity Blues, where rich parents helped their poor scoring students by paying individuals to guarantee their childrens’ admittance into many colleges. The alleged crimes included test score manipulation and cheating on the SAT and ACT exams, as well as bribing college officials to get the students in under false pretenses.

Some of the schools included in this fraud are Georgetown, Yale, and Stanford University, as well as the University of Texas, USC, and UCLA. Of those 50 charged, 33 of them are the parents who paid to give their kids an advantage. None of the students involved have been charged, as the brain behind these schemes were the parents and officials who partook in it.

Those named as involved so far include two celebrities of a well known status to television viewers, dear Aunt Becky from Full House (Lori Loughlin) and Lynette Scavo from Desperate Housewives (Felicity Huffman). Both of their representatives declined to comment or couldn’t be reached about the matter. They allegedly paid a man named William Singer, (not to be confused with musical artist will.i.am) to pay college coaches and SAT/ACT proctors and administrators to help rig the admissions process. Singer, a connected college admissions adviser, was paid $25 million spanning from 2011 to 2018 in this scam. The bribes were sneaked through a nonprofit, the Key Worldwide Foundation according to prosecutors, which allowed those parents who paid to deduct the money as a charitable donation from their taxes as a cherry on top. 

Photo Credit: Don Liebig 

Several college coaches and an athletic director were charged, as they helped some students reach the colleges by lying that they were attending for sports or athletics. Left: UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, was indicted, and has been placed on leave by the school. It is alleged he accepted $200,000 in bribes, and facilitated the enrollment of one female and male student. Stanford head sailing coach, John Vandemoer, has pleaded guilty to the fraud case and was fired from his position. He agreed to hold open coveted admission spots at the university for two applicants falsely portrayed as competitive sailors in exchange for payments to the sailing program. Former Georgetown Tennis Coach, Gordon Ernst, allegedly took $2.7 million in bribes for 12 applicants. Former Yale university women’s soccer coach, Rudolph Meredith, was also charged for working with a California-based college counseling and preparation service which has allegedly helped students cheat on their ACT and SAT or paid sums to elite college coaches to recruit them. Another former coach, Michael Center, of the University of Texas, allegedly took a bribe of $100,000 to help a student gain admission to the university, by adding the student as a recruit to the tennis team.

This flippant abuse of power is a disheartening and angering revelation for those who work hard to get into colleges, specifically athletes, who lost their spot because of the fraud. It remains to be seen what will happen to the students who were granted admission in through this method, but the claims of some that they “didn’t know” is doubtful at best.

About the Writer
Jake Dailey, Website Editor

Jake Dailey (12) joined journalism this year (2018-2019) and is interested in technology and history. His hobbies include hiking and taking care of animals.

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