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These are the college coaches accused of turning wealthy kids into fake athletic recruits
By now, you should be aware of the incredibly widespread college admissions bribery scandal uncovered after today's FBI bankruptcy. If not, you missed it. College trainers and administrators were critical to running the program. They falsely represented applicants as athletic recruits in order to increase their chances of admission. Here's how it worked, as outlined in the court documents: Parents laundered money through a fraudulent nonprofit called the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF), which then made payouts to trainers and administrators.
Here are some of the coaches and sporting directors involved in the program, as well as a (non-exhaustive) look at their greatest achievements.
Gordon Ernst, head coach for men's and women's tennis at Georgetown University until 2018, was allegedly bribed several times to falsely represent Georgetown applicants as tennis recruits.
He represented the daughter of Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez as a tennis recruit in the admission process. Ernst received fraudulently obtained test results and fraudulent tennis ID cards; He then passed it on to an admissions officer with the comment “Possible location”. The daughter, whose admission essay incorrectly discussed "How quickly I connected with Coach Ernst", was admitted to Georgetown in the fall of 2015. KWF paid Ernst USD 950,000 for his work between September 2015 and November 2016, which required the approval of “the daughter and several other students as alleged tennis recruits. "
Ernst received US $ 244,000 between September 2012 and September 2013 for helping represent Elisabeth Kimmel's daughter as a tennis recruit in Georgetown based on a fake profile. The daughter was accepted at the end of 2012.
Ernst also helped Douglas Hodge's daughter get accepted as a tennis recruit in Georgetown by using a fake profile claiming she had won multiple United States Tennis Association events despite never playing in a USTA game. The daughter was accepted at the end of 2008.
Ernst, a tennis coach in the Obamas, resigned on June 30, 2018 after 12 years in Georgetown. He is currently a tennis coach at the University of Rhode Island despite being on administrative leave. Ernst has been charged with conspiracy at the federal level.
Donna Heinel, who was Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Southern California until her resignation, was allegedly bribed to falsely represent a number of students as athletic recruits on the Subcommittee on Athletic Admission. Their payouts totaled over $ 1.3 million. Here is a selection:
Heinel was reportedly bribed to represent William E. McGlashan's son as a recruited athlete. The son, who had fraudulent test results, was fraudulently portrayed as a soccer player and may have used Photoshop to compose images of him, as suggested by Heinel.
Heinel was also reportedly bribed to represent Gamel Abdelaziz's daughter as a recruited basketball player. The daughter received fake basketball references such as "All-Star Team of the Asia Pacific Activities Conference", "China Cup Champions 2016" and "MVP of the Hong Kong Academy". Heinel represented the daughter in the admissions committee based on the fraudulent athlete profile and received permission to accept her as a basketball recruit. Heinel advised Abdelaziz to transfer $ 200,000 to the gift account at the Galen Center, the arena for USC's basketball and volleyball programs. This would be forwarded to Heinel. Abdelaziz transferred a payment of US $ 300,000 to KWF, which the cooperating witness described as a donation for "underserved children". The daughter was accepted. Abdelaziz was instructed to confirm Heinel's story that his daughter sustained an injury, which explained why she didn't play basketball at USC.
In or around July 2018, KWF began personally paying Heinel $ 20,000 per month for her work with Abdelaziz's daughter and other clients.
Heinel was also reportedly bribed to represent the daughters of designer Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin as crew recruits, despite not being on the crew. Giannulli sent the cooperating witness a photo of the older daughter with an ergometer and was instructed to send a payment of $ 50,000 to Heinel personally. In autumn 2016, the older daughter was represented as a helmsman in the sub-committee for sports approvals and received approval. Giannulli transferred $ 200,000 to KWF.
Giannulli's younger daughter went through a similar process and was accepted for inclusion in the fall of 2017. Giannulli sent a picture of her on an ergometer and was instructed to send a payment of $ 50,000 to Heinel at USC. He again paid KWF $ 200,000.
Heinel was also reportedly bribed to represent Devin Sloane's son as a water polo recruit. Sloane obtained water polo equipment from Amazon and took a picture of his son playing uncompetitive water polo. This photo was then used along with fake honors when Heinel introduced the son to the Sports Admissions Subcommittee and secured his admission in late 2017. Sloane was ordered to send a payment of $ 50,000 to Heinel at USC and $ 200,000 to KWF.
Heinel was also allegedly bribed to represent Marci Palatella's son as a football recruit at Long Snapper. Fraudulent test results and fraudulent athletic awards were used. Palatella's son was inducted into USC in late 2017.
Heinel was charged with federal conspiracy.
Vavic, the men's and women's water polo head coach at USC until his resignation today, has reportedly received payments of more than $ 250,000. He and Heinel were reportedly bribed to represent Agustin Huneeus Jr.'s daughter as a recruited water polo athlete with fraudulent images of her competing, fraudulent athletic honors and fraudulent test results. Huneeus has been instructed to send a payment of $ 50,000 to USC and a payment of $ 200,000 to KWF. The daughter was accepted in autumn 2018.
Vavic was also reportedly bribed to represent John B. Wilson's son as a water polo recruit. Vavic said he would introduce the son and his "Top Walkons" to the Subcommittee on the Approval of Athletics. Vavic emailed a USC athletics administrator that the son "would be the fastest player on our team, he swims 50 years in 20 [seconds], my fastest players are about 22 [seconds], this kid can fly" based on his claims on a fake athletic profile. The son was accepted into the USC as a water polo recruit in early 2014. Wilson's company transferred $ 100,000 to KWF, $ 100,000 to The Key, a nonprofit of the cooperating witness, and $ 20,000 directly to the cooperating witness.
Vavic was charged with conspiracy and was reportedly arrested Tuesday in Hawaii.
Laura Janke, a women's soccer assistant coach at USC who dropped out of school in 2014, helped create several fake athlete profiles and received six-figure payouts. The image below, which supposedly depicts Elisabeth Kimmel's son competing in the pole vault, was used in such a profile.
Janke was charged with conspiracy.
Ali Khosroshahin, who was sacked in 2013 after seven years as head coach of women's football at USC, and Jorge Salcedo, currently head coach of men's football at UCLA, were allegedly bribed to facilitate the admission of Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson's daughter as football recruit to the recruit UCLA. Khoroshahin forwarded the daughter's fake soccer profile to Jorge Salcedo, with a note that read in part: “Soccer player / student manager. I've attached their profile, players' statement, testimonials for both high schools, and ACT scores. I'll make sure she's registered with the NCAA. “The daughter was admitted to UCLA in the fall of 2016. Her father Bruce transferred 2,150 shares of Facebook to KWF with an approximate value of $ 251,249. KWF paid $ 100,000 to a sports marketing firm controlled by Salcedo, the men's soccer coach, and $ 25,000 to Khosroshahin, the former women's coach.
In other cases, Khoroshahin received payouts to a private football club he owned. He was charged with conspiracy. Salcedo was on leave from UCLA and charged with conspiracy.
Stanford's sailing coach, John Vandemoer, was fired after participating in a program in which Stanford would have sailed $ 500,000 in exchange for a recruitment spot for a daughter of John B. Wilson, who had previously used KWF to get his son's admission Fraudulent Water to Secure Polo Recruit at USC. Vandemoer has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy.
In November 2018, Rudy Meredith resigned after 24 years as head coach of women's football at Yale. The indictment found that he had been a cooperating witness since around April 2018, working with law enforcement agencies. In a 2017 program, he named an applicant from Yale as a soccer recruit, knowing full well that the student was not playing competitive soccer. The student was accepted, and in early 2018 KWF sent Meredith a check for $ 400,000 in exchange for his services. In a 2018 program, Meredith met with a parent in a hotel room in Boston that was being monitored by the FBI and requested $ 450,000 in exchange for naming the man's daughter as a soccer recruit. Meredith accepted a payment of $ 2,000 at the meeting and a subsequent installment of $ 4,000. Meredith is now charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Michael Center, head coach of men's tennis at UT-Austin since 2000, has been put on administrative leave. The center allegedly accepted around $ 100,000 in bribes in exchange for naming a candidate as a tennis recruit for a "books" scholarship - meaning the university would cover the sports student's books - even though the student only had a year of tennis had played in high school. The student was accepted into UT-Austin in 2015 and after enrolling, retired from the tennis team later that year and waived the scholarship. The center took funds in multiple installments, including a 2015 meeting in a hotel parking lot where he received around $ 60,000 in cash. He was charged in a criminal complaint with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Update (March 13, 7:01 p.m. ET) : Added Rudy Meredith, Women's Football Coach at Yale, and Michael Center, Men's Tennis Coach at UT-Austin.
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