Wealthy celebrities and parents have been accused of sending bribes to influence college decisions in favor of their children in a nationwide college admissions scandal — and the man at the center of it all, William Rick Singer, donated $338,379 to NYU’s athletics department through his charity The Key Worldwide Foundation.
When U.S. Attorney for the District Court of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announced the charges on Tuesday, he said that parents paid Singer large sums of money to ensure that their children were accepted to schools such as the University of Southern California, Yale University, Georgetown University and Stanford University. Singer allegedly falsified test scores on the ACT and SAT.
Celebrity parents such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were also charged in the scandal. Loughlin allegedly spent $500,000 to get her daughters into USC as rowing recruits. The charges raised questions about the merits of the college admissions process.
According to The New York Times, Singer said he bribed coaches to falsely certify that students had been recruited for certain schools’ sports teams, although there is no evidence that this was the case with NYU.
In an official statement, NYU spokesperson John Beckman mentioned that the university was not named in the charges brought forth by the Attorney General and said that NYU has “just begun” to look into the donations the athletic department received from The Key Worldwide Foundation.
Beckman said that as a Division III school, athletics play no role in the admissions process at NYU.
“[O]ur athletic teams are populated with students admitted through the standard admissions process,” the statement reads. “At NYU, the Athletics Department is not empowered to prescribe that certain students be admitted, nor do coaches have direct contact with admissions officers about particular candidates whom they may be interested in having for their teams.”
Email Meghna Maharishi and Victor Porcelli at [email protected].