UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said Friday the university is reviewing “every aspect of the student-athlete admissions process” in response to the nationwide admissions-cheating scandal that led to the resignation of the Bruins’ longtime men’s soccer coach.
Guerrero said he believes UCLA’s process for admitting student-athletes is among the most stringent in the country, but conceded the indictments stemming from the federal probe proved the system is not foolproof.
“Despite the fact that we have confidence in the existing process, a breach of the system can obviously occur when individuals choose to act unethically, and contrary to the level of integrity that we expect,” Guerrero said in a written statement. “In collaboration with the university, we are currently reviewing every aspect of the student-athlete admissions process. We will use this opportunity to identify areas that can be strengthened, and we will take the appropriate steps to do so. Once those steps are identified, we will share them openly.”
According to federal authorities, Newport Beach businessman William Rick Singer — who has already pleaded guilty — orchestrated a long-running bribery scheme to get the children of well-heeled parents into elite universities, including USC and UCLA. In some cases, prospective students were posed as athletic recruits, even though they had little to no experience playing the sports in question.
On Thursday, UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, who is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering for his alleged participation in the scheme, resigned. Salcedo, who had been UCLA’s coach since 2004, had been on leave since March 12 when federal authorities announced indictments in the case.
According to the federal indictment, Singer directed a payment of $100,000 from a charitable account he controlled to a sports marketing company Salcedo controlled and mailed Salcedo a check for $100,000 to facilitate the admission of two students to UCLA as purported soccer recruits, even though neither played soccer.
Salcedo is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Monday.
Guerrero said prospective UCLA athletes are put through a vetting process that includes a review by a Student-Athlete Admissions Committee made up of administrators and faculty members.
“Prospective student-athletes will be admitted only if, in the judgment of the SAAC, the prospective student-athlete can succeed academically and graduate from UCLA,” Guerrero said. “Prospective student-athletes must be certified as NCAA-eligible in order to be approved for student-athlete admission. No prospective student-athlete will be offered admission, or be given any verbal indication of likely admission, prior to review and admission approval by the SAAC. Equally, National Letters of Intent or Grant-in-Aid contracts will not be offered to prospects until admission approval is granted by the SAAC.”
Guerrero said he shares “the outrage” that has been sparked by the admissions scandal.
“The behavior described in the allegations is disturbing and unacceptable,” he said. “As an athletic department, we pride ourselves on conducting our business with the utmost integrity. As I have said throughout my career, how we do things is just as important as the results we produce. Representing this university with character and integrity is paramount, not just for me, but for every coach, staff member and student-athlete.”
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