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USC Fires Athletics Administrator, Water Polo Coach In Admissions Fraud Fallout

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - USC announced Tuesday afternoon that water polo coach Jovan Vavic and senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel were fired after the two were indicted for their alleged roles in a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme.

Vavic and Heinel were both charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering in an alleged plot to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits.

Athletic coaches from USC - including Ali Khosroshahin, former USC women's soccer coach, and his former assistant coach, Laura Janke - were implicated in Operation Varsity Blues, along with others from UCLA, Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Heinel and Vavic allegedly received bribes totaling more than $1.3 million and $250,000, respectively, in order for parents to capitalize on relaxed admissions standards for student athletes at USC despite any legitimate recruitment of their children.athletes.

"USC has not been accused of any wrongdoing and will continue to cooperate fully with the government's investigation," according to the university. "We understand that the government believes that illegal activity was carried out by individuals who went to great lengths to conceal their actions from the university."

USC officials also said the school would be "conducting an internal investigation ... and the university will take additional employment actions as appropriate."

The university is also "in the process of identifying any funds received by the university in connection with this alleged scheme.
Additionally, the university is reviewing its admissions processes broadly to ensure that such actions do not occur going forward."

In a separate statement, USC President Wanda M. Austin issued a separate statement saying the university is a victim of the conspiracy and calling it "immensely disappointing" that employees would allegedly abuse their positions.

Earlier Tuesday, UCLA confirmed that head soccer coach Jorge Salcedo has been placed on leave following his arrest in the alleged scheme.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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