March Madness is playing zero games this year. Conference tournaments are already providing tons of drama. And now the FBI has uncovered yet another scandal involving college athletics. This one, though, includes fake athletes and real celebrities.
The FBI is involved with this issue for the same reason they started investigating pay-for-play schemes: fraud. In this case, however, the fraud includes non-athletes posing as athletes in order to have access to top-tier universities that they would otherwise not have access to due to not meeting academic standards. There were others that paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams to get into these institutions.
Basically, families were paying for their children to be both portrayed and admitted to universities as student athletes, or paying big money to have their test scores “enhanced.” Some of these transactions exceeded a million dollars.
How much to get your kid on the Yale soccer team if they don't actually *checks notes* "play soccer"?— Jason Riley (@JasonRileyWDRB) March 12, 2019
Just $1.2 million pic.twitter.com/wePj5mRevZ
The schools that we know are involved are Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale. There have been some college coaches charged:
Among coaches indicted (some current, some former): Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith, Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, several USC coaches, UCLA men's soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, Texas men's tennis coach Michael Center.— Aaron Leibowitz (@aaron_leib) March 12, 2019
At this time, it looks like 44 people have been charged in this case. Perhaps the most shocking piece is the celebrity names that are allegedly involved. Of note, Lori Loughlin of “Full House” fame and Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” have been charged.
Allegedly, Laughlin paid $500,000 to have her daughters admitted to USC as part of their rowing team, even though neither of them had any experience in rowing. Huffman is accused of paying a fake charitable organization $15,000 to help her daughter to cheat on entrance exams.
While this scandal itself may not be as juicy because it does not directly involve actual college athletes, there could still be coaches and programs that are brought down by the FBI and the NCAA.