The college admissions scandal (or the Varsity Blues scandal) added a new chapter last week as former UCLA Men’s Soccer head coach Jorge Salcedo’s attorney begin to draw the framework of his argument in the trial and it could spell disaster for his old employer. Salcedo alleges in the motion that UCLA was aware of the admissions scandal in 2014 after a compliance review into the athletics department.
“The charges reflect the government’s fundamental misunderstanding of how UCLA has strategically used its student-athlete admissions process as a vehicle to raise funds to pay for its many expensive and underfunded athletic programs,” Salcedo’s attorneys wrote in the motion. “UCLA’s own internal documents reveal that, for many years, its Athletic Department has facilitated the admission of unqualified applicants—students who do not meet UCLA’s rigorous academic or athletics standards—through the student-athlete admissions process in exchange for huge “donations” by the students’ wealthy parents.”
Salcedo was one of the coaches indicted in March of 2019 as part of the large sweeping admissions scheme that involved numerous universities across the country. He was the only UCLA coach named in the indictment. But he was not the only soccer coach involved. Former USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin pled guilty to his involvement in the admissions scandal in June. His former assistant coach Laura Janke also pled guilty for her involvement.
Salcedo’s motion last week sought pre-trial subpoenas for UCLA and the UC Regents. As he alleges the school’s compliance office investigated the admissions practice of the athletics department five years ago and discovered it was a readily accepted standard for the benefit at higher-ups in the athletics department and university.
“Until this prosecution, UCLA has been able to keep its roster-spot-for-money admissions practice under wraps, hidden from the public. But the practice has been no secret at UCLA. Five years ago, UCLA’s Compliance Office was forced to review the Athletic Department’s admissions and fundraising tactics in response to a parent’s complaint concerning the revocation of her daughter’s admission.”
The motion, which can be read in full, continues to lay out the evidence regarding that internal investigation.
“Having uncovered a mountain of damning evidence, the Compliance Office concluded that UCLA’s use of athletic team roster slots to raise funds violated Policy 2202 of UCLA’s governing body, the University of California Board of Regents (“UC Regents”). Policy 2202, titled “Policy Barring Development Considerations from Influencing Admission Decisions,” prohibits admission decisions based on financial benefits to the University. The Compliance Office, however, was careful to protect top echelon members of the Athletic Department, while heaping all of the blame on the coaches’ shoulders.”
Depending on what the subpoena reveals, this could be a difficult spell for UCLA’s athletic department, which is already in the news for reporting a massive deficit in 2019.