“Shocking” College Admissions Scandal Isn’t Shocking At All

Cheating and greasing palms by the privileged in the college admissions process is far from new.

The FBI has been busting up NCAA pay-for-play scandals in college athletics for years, but the most recent college story gripping the nation was not fueled by unsavory agents, predatorial AAU coaches or poor black families “looking for a quick come up.”

Unsealed court documents have revealed to the public what federal investigators describe as a “nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating” on college entrance exams. The bombshell revelations include elite D-1 coaches, Hollywood actresses, CEOs and members of privileged white families. In fact, of the 40 charged in this bombshell cheating scam, 33 of them are parents to students or prospective students.

In a press conference Tuesday, federal investigators characterized them as a “catalog of wealth and privilege.” In essence, they wrote checks that enabled them to use their wealth to, among other things, take athletic scholarships from other deserving kids and brazenly fleece the system.

According to Complex, “The plot is alleged to have revolved around securing the admission of students to major universities as recruited athletes “regardless of their athletic abilities” and assisting prospective enrollees with exam cheats (i.e. SAT and ACT), per an NBC News report filed Tuesday.”

William Rick Singer, founder of a college prep business in Newport, is the alleged kingpin of the operation. Singer’s charges include racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice. He’s expected to plead guilty. 

“Affected universities allegedly include Stanford, Georgetown, UCLA, and Yale. Among the dozens of people named in the indictment are multiple coaches, as well as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman and husband William H. Macy are alleged to have given a ‘charitable donation of $15,000’ to participate in the scheme on behalf of their oldest daughter. Macy, however, is not listed in federal documents as among those hit with a charge.”

The pressures parents face in being able to secure their kids a spot at the most pristine universities is far from new. After the recent AAU cases and arrests, many would assume that these deceptions and scandal are athletic in nature, many involving African-American families or low-income students with million dollar dreams. But with this explosive cheating scandal, everyone can physically witness what most have known forever, that the country’s white elite is also down with finding every unscrupulous advantage of getting their kids into certain schools and tracked for a certain level of success.

The main difference is that they just buy their way in.

Money talks in this country and college admission — like most things in this world — can apparently be bought for the right price. While most students of color have to work hard whether it be in the classroom, at home or on the athletic field, many privileged white kids from families who wanted guarantees instead of due process in the game of college admissions were getting into prestigious colleges on the strength of a check cut on their behalf.

Via Complex:

“Per documents, the majority of allegedly affected students had no knowledge that the scheme was in play. Other charges scattered across the newly revealed documents include conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. All told, millions in bribes are alleged to have been paid out.

One alleged method of bending exams in the prospective students’ favor, as detailed in the FBI‘s complaint, involved securing extended time for them to complete tests in “an individualized setting.” From there, bribed test admins would let a third party either proctor the proceedings while giving out correct answers, add correct answers after completion, or take the exam in the prospective student’s place.”

In one swoop, we see how the privileged parents of these children, in conjunction with trusted coaches, faculty and numerous third parties, design a system that further compounded the heavy odds against less privileged kids. So instead of receiving a well-deserved opportunity at a great education, they move further down the list behind those who can afford to pay their way to the top.

We also see how sports — which has been one of the most vital tools used by many underprivileged college kids to advance out of their conditions —  is once again being misused as a weapon in the oppression of these same student-athletes.

Nothing is sacred in the race for relevance in America.

All of the parents involved are guilty of copping out instead of teaching their kids to compete. It’s indicative of a work ethic among the silver spoon gang that continues to diminish, while foreigners and underprivileged kids with an eye on the American prize continue to fight and struggle in order to forge great lives for themselves in this country. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.