Fake Athletes


The colleges involved with the scandal.

Eunice Ahn, Photojournalist

Recently, a huge shock spread throughout the nation with the college scandals. Although people have mainly been focused on the celebrities paying for their children to get into college, there was also a college athletics scandal that happened around the same time.


To sum up what happened, when the recent college scandal broke out, people also discovered that there was some bribing for college athletes as well, in other words, fake athletes. It started back in 2011 with William “Rick” Singer. William Singer was the former alderman, an elected member of a municipal council. He had a college counseling business, known as The Key, and it helped wealthy clients to get their children into top colleges. There were two ways to do it, one is by making up fake test scores, and another was to create fake athletic profiles because athletes usually face lower admissions than other people. What The Key did was to bribe college coaches with a large amount of money to tell their school admissions department that the students were athletes when most of the time they don’t even play that certain sport.


Employees of The Key would fabricate athletic resumes to their admission departments and listed the students as recruits that they wanted the school to accept. The fake resumes included fake achievements, participation on club teams, and photographs. The fake photos were created by editing a student’s face onto the body of an actual athlete or by staging photos. In one case, this father purchased water polo gear and designed the photo to look like his son was in the pool playing the sport.


The schools that were involved in these scandals were USC, UCLA, and San Diego. There are more schools involved in this scandal as well, such as Stanford and Yale. In USC, Singer directed $350,000 to be sent to former Trojan’s women’s soccer assistant Laura Janke. Janke and former head coach Ali Khosroshahin agreed to designate 4 children of Singer’s clients as recruits and even though none of them played competitive soccer. Singer also bribed USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic by sending $250,000 to a bank that funded his program and he designated 2 students as water polo players. It was also discovered from 2014-2018 that Singer’s clients had made $1.3 million in donations to USC accounts controlled by Donna Heinel.


For UCLA, Singer helped a client’s daughter and another client’s son to be admitted as soccer recruits in 2016 and 2018. He didn’t do it alone as he had former USC head coach Khosroshahin help him too. Prosecutors state that Khosroshahin forwarded the student profiles to UCLA women’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo who helped with their admission and received $100,000 for each student, while Khosroshahin was paid $25,000 for each student as well. In San Diego, Singer had allegedly bribed an unidentified coach of an unidentified sport on two occasions. The coach had received $100,000 for the first student and $100,000 again for the second one after the student never enrolled.

These college scandals seem really crazy and almost drama like, but it happens and it did happen. Mr. Bailey (staff) said, “People are trying to mess up the system. It’s also how people get into big schools and it just shows the pressure. It’s really bad.” Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this event– let’s keep our mustang pride, Mustangs.