Busted: Obama Family Linked to College Bribery Scandal as the Kids Tennis Coach Accepted Nearly $3 Million in bribes
Sasha and Malia Obama’s tennis instructor and the former Yale women’s soccer coach are among those indicted in sprawling college bribery scheme, which allegedly also involved actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman. The scheme entailed getting students admitted to some of the top schools in the country as recruited athletes – regardless of athletic ability – and helping those applicants cheat on their entrance exams.
The Obama family tennis coach, who has also coached at multiple universities, allegedly pocketed $2.7 million as part of America’s largest college admissions scam. The University of Rhode Island tennis coach, Gordon Ernst, has been caught in the cross hairs of investigators and is testifying as to who got any help getting into an elite college – with or without qualifications. And what better qualifications than being The President’s daughters?
Ernst allegedly accepted nearly $3 million in bribes and in return helped a dozen students get onto the Georgetown’s tennis team, including kids who didn’t actually play the sport in a competitive fashion, according to the New York Post.
According to the same report from the New York Post, University of Rhode Island tennis coach Gordon Ernst has found himself at the center of a massive college admissions scandal. According to court documents, Ernst allegedly accepted $2.7 million as part of a larger fraud to shuffle unqualified students into Georgetown University, where he worked until 2018.
Ernst, who served as the personal tennis coach for the Obama family, allegedly helped 12 students gain admission to Georgetown University. The scam involved designating the students as star athletes so that they could be admitted to the university with lower grades and test scores. However, many of the students that Ernst brought into the university as tennis players had never played the game at all.
Fox News reports:
A tennis coach who worked with the family of former President Barack Obama was among the 50 people charged Tuesday in a college admissions scheme in which wealthy parents allegedly bribed coaches and others to get their children accepted to some of the top schools in the U.S.
Gordon Ernst, 52, was a former tennis coach at Georgetown University and the University of Rhode Island. He is accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering while he was at Georgetown.
Ernst was at Georgetown from 2012 to 2017 and was the personal instructor of former first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, according to the Providence Journal. None of the Obamas are implicated in the scandal in any way.
The scam involved designating the students as star athletes so that they could be admitted to the university with lower grades and test scores. However, many of the students that Ernst brought into the university as tennis players had never played the game at all.
The scam was allegedly perpetrated by William “Rick” Singer, who has pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. In some instances, Singer allegedly deployed a 36-year-old man named Mark Riddell who would take exams for students. The entire scam is worth an estimated $25 million.
A statement was released by Georgetown on Tuesday which spoke to the conduct of Ernst during his time being employed by the university.
“Georgetown University is deeply disappointed to learn that former Tennis Coach Gordon Ernst is alleged to have committed criminal acts against the University that constitute an unprecedented breach of trust,” the statement from the university read.
December of 2017 was the last time that Ernst was employed by the school, the university explains. This is when Georgetown launched an internal investigation, leading them to find that Ernst had “violated University rules concerning admissions.”
Singer pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The schools involved – Stanford, UCLA, Wake Forest, Yale, Georgetown, University of Texas, University of San Diego, USC – are not believed to have taken part in wrongdoing.
US Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling called the bribery scheme the ‘largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the department of justice.’
‘In return for bribes, these coaches agreed to pretend that certain applicants were recruited, competitive athletes, when, in fact, the applicants were not,’ said Lelling. ‘As the coaches knew, the students’ athletic credentials had been fabricated.’
Lelling said the investigation is continuing and authorities believe other parents were involved. The schools themselves are not targets of the investigation, he said.
No students were charged. Authorities said in many cases the teenagers were not aware of what was going on.
Colleges moved quickly to discipline the coaches accused. Stanford fired Vandemoer, UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.