Operation Varsity Blues

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Cambria McCalla

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The recent college scandal dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” by the FBI has exposed the fraudulent activities of over 50 adults, including nine coaches at prestigious universities. The accused include many familiar faces like Aunt Becky from the TV show Fuller House. In short, these wealthy parents hired  William Singer to gain their children access to highly reputable universities including Harvard, Yale, USC, UCLA, Stanford, and USD.

Former USC soccer coach Laura Janke pled guilty to charges of racketeering in the college admissions scandal on March 25th. (Nathan Klima/Boston Globe/TNS)

Singer used the outrageous sums to pursue one of two options. He served as the middle man in faking or altering college placement exams such as the ACT and SAT by bribing proctors or having a proxy sit for the exam. And in option 2 he used the parents’ money, once laundered through a non-profit, to pay coaches to reserve spots for the families he represented. This often included faking photographs, and in some cases, hiding the fact that many of his clients had little to no experience in the competitive sport. It was further revealed that not only did his clients bribe their way into these institutions, but they were also actually taking slots away from rightfully qualified students. These wrongfully admitted students simply would not be equipped to keep up in a competitive environment.

Laurie Loughlin and daughter Olivia Jade

A college degree has never been more necessary with 65% of all jobs requiring some form of a college education by the year 2020 according to a Georgetown University study.  Today’s society requires a degree for success, and yet money and greed are overpowering the pursuit of that education. This scandal goes to prove the depth in which greed has permeated our country. Olivia Jade, wrongfully admitted student of USC and daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, had a promising social media career. On Youtube, she repeatedly expressed her lack of desire or need for college. She was more interested in the party and game day experiences. 

Traditional college or university admission methods of elite families no longer end at generous donations. In fact, these traditional donations often went towards scholarships or the school as a whole enhancing the overall student experience. But, this current admissions scandal focuses specifically on the targeted gain of a select few.

College tuition has more than doubled since 1988, even when factoring in inflation, leaving students with crippling amounts of debt for their earned degrees. Meanwhile these select few students of wealthy and ‘willing to commit fraud’ parents did not put in the same countless hours of studying and service and will walk away with the same degree and minimal personal liability. This scandal has illuminated the steep competition for a college diploma and highlights the financial hardships most rightfully admitted students assume. This is no longer your grandparent’s stories of working their ways through college. College is now a competition with a paper prize and over $95,560 price tag.

Balingit, Moriah, et al. “The People Charged in College Admissions Scandal Operation Varsity Blues.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Mar. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/actors-designers-distillery-owners-here-are-some-of-those-charged-in-the-college-admissions-scheme/2019/03/12/3c2f5316-4500-11e9-8aab-95b8d80a1e4f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cc6561933383.

CNN. “Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty in College Admissions Scam.” YouTube, YouTube, 15 Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeP51xpTx0U.

News, CBS. “Dozens Facing Charges in College Admissions Bribery Scheme.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Mar. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAdZxBdA0yM.

News, CBS. “‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Exposes College Admissions Scam.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Mar. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA8iaEgj9Os.

News, Fox. “UCLA Women’s Soccer Recruit Played No Competitive Soccer: Report.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Mar. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOKR1UHNWw4.

TODAY. “College Admissions Scandal Highlights The Disadvantages Students Face | Sunday TODAY.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Mar. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BTk2df6vVM.


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