Operation Varsity Blues Centers on College Pay Offs for Admission


Photo by Logan Johnson

A display of a several popular colleges in Woodgrove’s Career Center.

Written by Logan Johnson

Several multi-millionaires and two celebrities, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, have been caught paying off colleges to gain acceptance for students with lower grades, including falsifying students’ athletic records to gain scholarships.

¨Operation Varsity¨ Blues has led to the arrest of 46 individuals as part of this fraud and bribery, scandal, and more arrests are expected.

One individual, William Singer, a CEO of a college preparation company, received over $25 million between 2011 and 2019 to falsify test scores and bribe college coaches to ensure admission for the students.

The FBI has detailed that some parents have paid anywhere from $50,000 to $1.2 million to ensure acceptance of their children at schools such as Stanford, Yale, and University of Southern California.

Singer paid off SAT test administrators and proctors, and in some cases, used body doubles to take the students’ tests to glorify the students´ SAT scores.

Guidance Director Geri Fiore is disappointed by the findings, as she understands how stressful the college admission process can be for students, and she stresses that the Woodgrove counseling office adheres to strict guidelines throughout the process

“We make sure to follow ethical guidelines, and we practice under the college administration and their code of ethics,” says Fiore.

“We work so hard to give our students the opportunity to be granted access to schools. Here at Woodgrove, testing environments are set up and are secure, and we follow the process by the book,” says Fiore. “I was saddened by the fact that students are getting short changed by people with money.

Part of the scandal also includes students receiving bogus athletic scholarships to gain admittance to universities. Actress Lori Loughlin’s two daughters were admitted to the University of South California on a crew scholarship with no experience, and once on the team, did not compete with the team. For $500,000 and a photo of Laughlin’s girls on a rowing machine, the girls were given an athletic scholarship.

Athletes at Woodgrove are frustrated.

“It’s unfair and it overall undermines Woodgrove’s motto,” (Work, Honor, and Strive) says senior varsity lacrosse goalie Zach Fahrner.

Other athletes agree and believe that the scandal is deflating got for those who do things the right way.

“The situation impacts ambition and discourages kids,” says senior varsity soccer defender Owen Black.

As evidence that many colleges favored the wealthy, it appears that cheating to gain admission was widespread.

“People are paying top dollar to get into schools that they don’t belong in. It makes me appreciate you guys working hard,” says Behind the Wheel Teacher Jordan Vangilder.