On Tuesday March 12, the world went wild when it was discovered that a number of celebrities had committed illegal acts to get their children into college. This college scandal is currently one of the most important ongoing cases in the United States. To some people, this reinforced the already prevalent mindset that wealthy families can use their affluence to cheat their way to greater privilege. So far, not everything is known about this case, but some information has been made public.
According to federal prosecutors, over 50 people played a role in the scandal, from allowing students to cheat on the SAT to bribing college coaches and school officials to accept their kid as a student athlete, even though many of those kids did not play the sport.
Dozens of parents have been charged, including well known actresses Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives,” and Lori Loughlin of “Full House.” Nine coaches from elite colleges, two ACT/SAT administrators, a test proctor, a college administrator, and a CEO named William Rick Singer who confessed to helping wealthy people get their children into college were also charged. Singer, who pled guilty to all charges, was the CEO of a college admissions company called The Key.
Singer and his company were selling two different kinds of fraud. The first kind was cheating on the SAT/ACT. Some parents paid between $15,000 to $75,000 per test to help their children get a better test score. In order to carry this out, Singer arranged for a third party, a man named Mark Riddell, to take the test in the students’ place or later correct their answers. This was done by Singer bribing the test administrators and proctors. Two people in Los Angeles, Lisa Williams and Igor Dvorskiy, have been accused of accepting bribes to allow Riddell to take the test. Both have been charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering.
The second method of fraud involved Singer using his connections with Division I coaches and distributing bribes to get these parents’ children into school with fake athletic credentials. For colleges, coaches do not have a direct say in who gets accepted, but they do get to make recommendations for who they think would be good on the team. In the case of Lori Loughlin’s daughters, Loughlin and her husband paid over $500,000 to have their daughters put on a crew team despite the fact that neither of them actually participated in crew.
In order to carry everything out, Singer disguised bribe payments as contributions to the Key Worldwide Foundation, which was a fake nonprofit that Singer used to launder the money.
When responding to these allegations, Singer said, “I want to communicate to everyone that I am profoundly sorry for the damage I have done and grief I have caused those as a result of my needless actions.”
The schools involved so far in this scandal include: Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, Wake Forest, University of Southern California, UCLA, University of Texas Austin and UC Berkeley
Most of the colleges involved in this scandal have spoken out and taken action about this cheating. The University of California(UCs) is investigating anyone from their university system affiliated with such wrongdoing. At Berkeley, a spokesperson announced that the student involved in the scandal had already graduated. The student’s father was indicted in the alleged scheme. UCLA put their head soccer coach on leave because he faces charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering. USC fired its senior athletic director as well as their water polo coach, both of whom were charged in this scheme. As of now, all USC applicants tied to the cheating scandal will be denied admission. Stanford University fired its head sailing coach, who has pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy. Wake Forest University put their volleyball coach on leave as he also faces charges on conspiracy to commit racketeering. The University of Texas Austin dismissed their men’s tennis coach. The former coach of Georgetown’s men’s tennis team was also involved in the scandal. Although not the school coach anymore, this case is still being investigated. Yale’s former women’s soccer coach was also charged and Yale has continued to corporate with investigative efforts.
As of now, the investigation is open and ongoing. Hopefully, this was an event that opened the eyes of many to what goes on in the college admission process.
Information for this article was taken from CNN. com.