Day 1 of the College Admissions Bribery Scandal


By David D. Dodge

Knowing where to start unraveling the college admissions bribery scandal after Day 1 is a challenge.  But the headlines give us a good start in learning what happened in the latest list of ethical failings in athletics and where the case may be heading:

  • College Admissions Scandal: Actresses, Business Leaders, and Other Wealthy Parents Charged (The New York Times)
  • DROWNING IN CORRUPTION (Los Angeles Times)
  • FBI accuses wealthy parents, including celebrities, in college-entrance bribery scheme (The Washington Post)
  • How college prep scandal mastermind bribed coaches for his admissions scheme (New York Post)
  • Elite-College Admissions Are Broken (The Atlantic)
  • How I Would Cover the College-Admissions Scandal as a Foreign Correspondent (The New Yorker)
  • The idea that the system is rigged feels so real (Los Angeles Times)
  • College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students (The Atlantic)
  • Wealthy parents cheated admissions (Los Angeles Times)
  • College Admissions Scam Involved Photo-shopping Rich Kids Heads Onto Athletes’ Bodies (New York Magazine)
  • College admissions, rigged for the rich (Los Angeles Times)
  • Actors, Coaches, CEOs, Among 50 People Charged in College Admissions, Recruiting Bribery Scheme (Sports Illustrated)
  • The big business of getting accepted (Los Angeles Times)
  • Every Coach Charged in the FBI’s College Admissions Recruiting, Bribery Scandal (Sports Illustrated)
  • Why the College-Admissions Scandal Is So Absurd (The Atlantic)
  • Unqualified students allegedly admitted via a ‘side door’ (Los Angeles Times)
  • Calif. parent set for Boston court, is said to have paid college bribes (The Boston Globe)
  • University of San Diego, local families caught up in college admissions scandal (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

These are just a few of the headlines from Day 1.  The case names celebrities (one of which has already appeared in handcuffs), corporate executives, investment bankers, business owners, top-tier lawyers, and even a best-selling author of parenting books, along with coaches, athletic department administrators, and a private foundation founder ( the scam’s mastermind who has already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities), among others.

The New York Times has described the case as the Justice Department’s “largest ever college admissions prosecution, a sprawling investigation that involved 200 agents nationwide…”

The FBI and the IRS are continuing their investigations with the Justice Department spokesman saying more charges are possible.  Stay tuned.


  1. Another example of the need for someone to show that they are great parents and are using their kids as a step in the progress–the “need” to be the best “parent” via the newest phone for the kids, the best/biggest vehicle, and now the best college–just so I can show that I am better than my “friends”. What has happened with spending time with your kids as they grow up and not using them as a “prize with your friends–a way to show your social status”. I see this a lot now and wonder what happened with having kids because you want to and not because you have to have them to stay in the social world you live in.

  2. Can you imagine how deep rooted this is at the universities. Many people would have had to be paid off to allow an admission to a university. I think we have just heard the tip of the iceberg.

    • Exactly. I hope this issue will be thoroughly investigated and not become “old news” and forgotten like so many other scandals.

  3. This has happened from the beginning of education times, money and power have ruled over principles, moral, and integrity; but the worst is hypocrisy, don’t tell me that the New York Times, Washington Post and the others did not know about this before!!!

  4. Every time I see headlines like these I get a little pit in my stomach. It is hard, in the Compliance business, to sometimes wrap you head around all of the undoing to our morals, integrity and our principles. The only way I have found to find any peace in an otherwise seemingly corrupt world is to bring it back home. By bringing it back home, I mean I try to let the most negative headlines’ inspire me to look around at my job in Compliance, my own day to day activities, and ask myself “how can this inspire me to do a better job, and how can I inspire others around me to live and work to a higher standard.” Otherwise, the negative headlines and all the cheaters in the world win. We just can not stand for that! Let’s all challenge ourselves and others to live to a higher standard by setting the example.

  5. Many more headlines and in-depth articles since Day 1. Singer claims to have “helped” over 700 other clients and the prosecutors have promised more arrests. While this has been described as a “college admissions scandal,” it’s really a sports scandal at the same time. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, stay tuned.

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