State Watch

USC coach testifies she helped wealthy parents' children get into schools as fake athletic recruits

An ex-collegiate soccer coach admitted in court on Monday that she aided parents in getting their children into elite colleges by creating fraudulent student-athlete profiles in exchange for money. 

Laura Janke, the former soccer coach at the University of Southern California (USC), admitted to being a part of the 2019 college admissions scandal that made headlines as a massive bribery scheme that touched multiple wealthy and high-profile families, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, and former Pimco CEO Douglas Hodge.

The FBI code-named the scandal "Operation Varsity Blues."

NBC reported that Janke told a federal jury in Boston that she participated in the scheme by helping William "Rick" Singer, the college counselor behind the operation, admit students who were underqualified to attend USC by faking athletic backgrounds.

Other schools impacted by the scandal were Yale and Stanford.

In exchange, Singer and other participating coaches received generous financial kickbacks. Janke stated that she, along with her former head coach at USC, received $50,000 per student admitted within the scheme.

"I basically devalued the sport and the commitment it takes for athletes to play," she said.

So far, 57 people have been charged in relation to Operation Varsity Blues. Janke is one of the defendants who have pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy.

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