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Former Georgetown coach to plead guilty in ‘Varsity Blues’ case

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A former Georgetown head tennis coach will plead guilty in connection to his role in a college admissions scandal in which wealthy parents sometimes spent millions to get their students into elite schools, often through fraud or bribes to coaches.

Gordon Ernst, who was the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Georgetown, will plead guilty to one charge of filing a false tax return, one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and three counts of federal programs bribery, according to prosecutors

Ernst faces up to four years in prison, with a minimum of one year, according to the plea agreement. Ernst will also forfeit almost $3.5 million and agree to two years of supervised release.

A trial for the former coach was previously slated for November, according to The Associated Press

Ernst’s lawyer, Tracy Miner, declined to comment on the plea deal.

Ernst allegedly accepted bribes from Rick Singer, an admissions consultant accused of using a combination of trickery and payola to secure spots for undeserving students at top colleges and universities. The investigation into the scheme was dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”

In exchange for large payments from parents, Singer would rig test scores, invent athletic credentials, and bribe coaches to designate applicants as athletic recruits, increasing their likelihood of acceptance into schools like Georgetown, according to prosecutors. 

Ernst left Georgetown in 2018, following an investigation by the school which found athletic credential “irregularities,” the AP reported. He then did a brief stint at University of Rhode Island, before he was arrested in March 2019.

Tags Georgetown University Operation Varsity Blues Rick Singer

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