Celebrity involvement has diverted attention from college coaches at heart of ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal

first_imgIf the parents involved had been ordinary rich people, then the “Varsity Blues” scandal would be positioned where it belongs: on the sports pages, near the very top of the list of the worst episodes in the history of college sports.Some of those rich people, though, also were famous: movie-star famous, TV-star famous, fashion-world famous, all of the varieties of fame that functioned to push this toward the lead of the network news and the cover of People magazine. This was doubly a shame. Because at the core of everything that happened, beyond the scheming admissions counselor and the megalomaniacal parents, there are the coaches who agreed to sell out their sports for money.MORE: Poll reveals most fans don’t think college football will happen this yearUnless you’re talking about Dave Bliss, there never has been a worse scandal in college sports. Because the sports involved are not football or men’s basketball, however, the coaches at the heart of this outrage are not receiving the contempt they’ve earned.(A mighty huge asterisk is warranted here: *Because Jerry Sandusky no longer was a Penn State coach when he was arrested and convicted, we’re not considering that horror for the purpose of this discussion.) The young men who denigrated the sport of college basketball in the 1950s point-shaving scandal at least had the excuse they weren’t paid for their athletic endeavors and perhaps had legitimate financial needs. The four college basketball coaches caught up in the 2017 FBI sting could rationalize they were taking money from a clueless mark who thought he’d invented a new way to build a sports agency. (The guy was an undercover FBI agent, and all four wound up with felony convictions).Jorge Salcedo, who pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, had the best job in men’s college soccer. When the scandal broke in March 2019, he was in his 15th season as head coach at UCLA, the four-time national champions, the school that produced Brad Friedel, Carlos Bocanegra, Benny Feilhaber, Paul Caliguiri and Joe-Max Moore, the campus so beautiful it might have borrowed the blueprints from Eden.Salcedo was being paid a base salary of $227,000, and yet still he admitted to accepting $200,000 to facilitate the admission of two students to UCLA as soccer recruits. One was a young woman for whom an artificial soccer bio was created; another was a young man who did not play the sport.One of the underrated advantages of being a highly competitive athlete is the opportunity to receive preferred admissions from colleges that want to field winning teams in the sports they sponsor. Rick Singer, who operated a college counseling business, was aware of this. At some point, he decided to exploit this circumstance by bribing coaches to use their influence to secure special admissions on young people who either weren’t legitimate prospects as college athletes or weren’t athletes at all.The key to this scheme: coaches who were willing to take money to violate the most sacred tenets of their sports. One would hope such miscreants would be in short supply, particularly in an era of college athletics when money was not. At the high-major level, head coaches now are well-compensated, and not just those earning multimillion-dollar salaries in football and basketball.  Alas, Singer found willing participants at many elite universities.The former tennis coach at Georgetown, Gordon Ernst, was charged with accepting $2.7 million from Singer over a period of years. Ernst pleaded not guilty. Rudy Meredith was women’s soccer coach at Yale and allegedly received nearly $1 million in exchange for recommending admission for students with fabricated athletic credentials; he pleaded guilty in March 2019. There was a women’s soccer coach at Southern California, Ali Khosroshahin, and a tennis coach at Texas, Michael Center. They took plea deals.The public, largely, did not know any of these names before. And they’re still not known, because Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are. They were two of the many parents charged with involvement in the scheme. Huffman, one of the most honored television actors of the past two decades, was sentenced to 14 days in jail and served 11. Loughlin, a sitcom star married to fashion designer Mossimo Gianulli, agreed in May to serve a two-month sentence. Gianulli agreed to a five-month term.Those who follow college sports likely have heard of at least one of the Division I assistant coaches who pleaded guilty after the FBI investigation into the basketball talent game: Chuck Person or Book Richardson or Tony Bland or Lamont Evans. In general, they took less money than the “Varsity Blues” coaches in exchange for dubious promises to guide athletes to agent or money managers that mostly were unfulfilled.Plenty of incidents described in the Varsity Blues charges actually happened: Students were granted admission to many prestigious schools ahead of more deserving students — and certainly more deserving athletes. The victims included the schools themselves, those young people denied admission to their preferred universities and, more than anything, the institution of intercollegiate athletics. So many millions of young people have benefited from participating in soccer, tennis or swimming at the Division I level. The coaches willing to sell the integrity of that experience deserve far more scorn than they have received as a result of this scandal.They were able to execute these schemes because their sports did not enjoy high profiles, and that has helped them to remain obscure.In the colloquial sense of the word, that is a crime.last_img read more

Solskjaer in spotlight as Liverpool target Christmas No. 1 spot

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes charge of Manchester United for the first time this weekend as their on-fire rivals Liverpool aim to become the Premier League’s Christmas number one.Former United striker Solskjaer, named caretaker manager at Old Trafford this week following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, is gunning to make a statement on Saturday at Cardiff City, where he flopped as coach in 2014.At the top of the table, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have a chance to open up a four-point lead over Manchester City at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, with Pep Guardiola’s team not in action against Crystal Palace until the following day.Third-placed Tottenham, five points behind second-placed City, face a tricky trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton while Chelsea host Leicester and Arsenal, smarting after Southampton ended their 22-game unbeaten run and League Cup defeat to bitter rivals Spurs midweek, welcome Burnley to the Emirates.AFP Sports picks out some of the main talking points ahead of the weekend fixtures in the Premier League.Can Solskjaer restore Man United magic?Manchester United’s rotating cast of players have failed dismally to live up to the club’s tradition of swashbuckling football in a dire season that led to Mourinho’s dismissal.All eyes will be on caretaker manager Solskjaer as he begins his attempt to turn around the club’s fortunes at Cardiff. Among the issues facing the Norwegian are bringing Paul Pogba back into the fold, liberating stifled attacking players and tightening up a leaky defence.Solskjaer, who managed Cardiff from January to September 2014, has a special place in the hearts of United fans and has talked about the “very talented squad”.Disgruntled supporters will not be expecting miracles but they will want to see an immediate change in style.Liverpool keep feet on the groundManchester City started the season as hot favourites to defend their Premier League crown but Liverpool have turned the campaign into a genuine title race.If Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten leaders beat Wolves on Friday it would be their seventh league win on the bounce and guarantee them to be top of the table on Christmas Day.Each of the past four sides to be in front on December 25 have gone on to win the title, though Liverpool themselves were the last side to fail to do so, in 2013/14.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more

Jean Barton: US beef on shelves in South Korea stores

first_imgGranddaughter Erin Borror works as an economist for the U.S. Meat Export Federation and was excited about the news that the 13 Costco warehouses in Korea will be selling 100 percent U.S. chilled beef. This means 15,000 metric tons of U.S. beef new business for American beef producers. The average weight of a live beef is 1,370 pounds. The following is the press release from USMEF.The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international …last_img

Buddhist monk held for ‘sexual abuse’ of students in Bihar

first_imgA Buddhist monk running a meditation centre at Gaya district was arrested for the alleged sexual exploitation of 15 child monks. On Thursday, the monk, Bhante Shanghpriya, was remanded in 14 day judicial custody and the statements of the children were recorded before a judicial magistrate. The International Buddhist Council has condemned the incident and sought a probe. A Special Investigation Team headed by the Bodh Gaya Deputy Superintendent of Police had been formed to probe the case, said Gaya Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra. The IBC held an emergency meeting at Bodh Gaya and condemned the incident. “We demand a thorough probe … the organisation running the monastery was not registered with the IBC,” general secretary Pragya Deep said. Informed sources told The Hindu that out of 160 monasteries running in Bodh Gaya, only 55 are registered with the IBC. “The police are investigating details of the Trust running the monastery and if any fraud was found, an FIR will be lodged against all members of the trust,” said Mr. Mishra.Managed by TrustOn Wednesday, all 15 child monks, along with their parents had complained to the Bodh Gaya police about physical and sexual abuse by Bhante Sanghpriya. The police swung into action and arrested the accused monk. All the child monks were studying at Prajana Jyoti Buddhist Novice School and Meditation Centre located at Mastpura village under the Bodh Gaya police station. The school-cum-meditation centre was managed by the Prajana Social Welfare Trust.Later, an FIR was lodged with the Bodh Gaya police under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. “The child monks had complained about their physical and sexual abuse by their head monk to their respective guardians…they also informed us that they were thrashed, mistreated and sexually abused while staying in the school…we are investigating the matter now,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajkumar Shah told journalists. A board of doctors had been set up for their medical examination.From AssamAll the child monks, aged seven to 12, are from Karbi Anglong district of Assam. The incident came to light when one child monk somehow came out of the centre and rang up a previous teacher of the school who was in Mumbai and narrated their ordeal. The teacher from Assam knew parents of the victim monks and informed them about their trauma. The parents reached Bodh Gaya on Wednesday and took out them to the police station.The police have lodged all 15 child monks along with their parents at the Assam Bhawan in Gaya town.last_img read more

a month agoBerlusconi hits out at AC Milan after defeat to Inter

first_imgBerlusconi hits out at AC Milan after defeat to Interby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has hit out at his old team after defeat to Inter Milan.The Monza owner has questioned the hiring of Marco Giampaolo.”We didn’t advise anyone, Milan chose him and he had seemed to everyone to be a good Coach. I’ve never met him, so I cannot pass judgment.“Suso is a great champion, but he needs to play as a support striker or behind two strikers. He needs to be put in the right condition to receive the ball, which so far hasn’t happened.”Berlusconi had particularly snide remarks for current Milan directors Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini.“Next question… Let’s just say that I cheered them on when they were players.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

8 days agoTottenham boss Pochettino: I don’t want to buy

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Tottenham boss Pochettino: I don’t want to buyby Paul Vegas8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admits they will not try to buy in January – if the decision is down to him.Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen have entered the final year of their contracts and can leave for nothing in the summer, while the likes of Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Serge Aurier failed to secure exits before the season started.Asked ahead of Saturday’s visit of Watford if the club would be busy in the January window, Pochettino said: “No, I don’t believe so. I believe in the players we have, the players that are at Tottenham today.”I respect the opinion of people who say we need to change something, in or out. But if it is my decision, I am going to stick with players because I know they have the quality. It’s only to unlock some situations that are going on in their minds. We have great quality to achieve the things we are expected to.” last_img read more

Canada endorses Venezuelan opposition leader as interim president

first_imgOTTAWA — Canada is recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president.A government source who was not authorized to speak publicly says Canada will issue a formal statement shortly, following the lead of the United States.The move comes as Guaido declares himself interim president, just two weeks after Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a contested second term.Canada has accused Maduro of seizing power through fraudulent, anti-democratic elections in May of last year.Earlier this month it rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s new presidential term, calling on him to immediately cede power to the democratically elected National Assembly until new elections are held.Canada said the suffering of Venezuelans would only worsen should Maduro continue to cling to power.The Canadian Presslast_img

EU Brexit negotiator fears disorderly Brexit more than ever

first_imgSTRASBOURG, France — European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says the bloc is stepping up preparations for a chaotic no-deal departure of Britain from the bloc after the rejection of the draft withdrawal deal in London left the EU “fearing more than ever that there is a risk” of a cliff-edge departure.Barnier regretted Westminster’s massive rejection of the deal he negotiated with the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May and said that any future deal would still have to include approving the withdrawal agreement.He said Wednesday that “whatever happens, ratification of the withdrawal agreement is necessary. It is a precondition.”He said that a linked political declaration offered “possible options” for further talks.The Associated Presslast_img

Thousands line the streets for the annual Santa Claus Parade in Fort

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Thousands of people lined the streets of Fort St. John for the annual Santa Claus Parade Saturday night.The parade was moved to a new date in 2018. In years previous the parade was scheduled for the third Friday of November.  The City felt moving the date and time of the event would be better due to safety concerns with after work vehicle traffic and the Parades proximity to Remembrance Day.After the parade, Councillor Gord Klassen announced the top three floats. Calvary Baptist ChurchFort St. John Figure Skating ClubChild Development CentreThe community also enjoyed free hot dogs from the Sunrise Rotary Club and free coffee from McDonald’s.Thank you to the City of Fort St. John for sponsoring our live video stream of the parade.  You can watch above on Youtube or below on Facebook.last_img

Serena Loses In First Match After Giving Birth But

Serena Williams from the U.S. returns the ball to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the final day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Serena Williams lost on her return to competitive tennis after giving birth, going down to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.“I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” Williams said. “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”Williams struggled with her serve and Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but the American still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after nearly a year away from tennis.Williams said after the 67-minute match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship that she is still undecided on her title defense of the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 15, but delivered a warning to rivals.“I don’t know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet. I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships,” Williams said. “I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there.“I am taking it one day at a time. I am going to assess everything with my team before deciding.”The 36-year-old Williams took time off after winning the Australian Open last January while pregnant. She gave birth to her first child, a girl named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sept. 1. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era.“Knowing that I have won 23 Grand Slam titles and several other titles, I don’t think I have anything more left to prove. But I am not done yet,” Williams said.Despite winning her opening game when she broke Ostapenko, Williams was nowhere near her best in the first set, before fighting back and winning the second.After the initial break, Ostapenko latched onto the weak serves of Williams, and several unforced errors helped, as she stormed back into the match to go 4-1 up with two breaks.Williams struggled with her serve in the second set too, but went ahead 3-0 with a couple of early breaks as she started to hit more confident shots, including several crowd-pleasing double-handed passing shots. Another break in the ninth game delivered her first set of the comeback.“In the beginning, it felt a little tough. But as the match moved on, I was less afraid. I knew I was not going to fall over and break,” said Williams.“The more I played, the more confident I felt that I would be able to go for shots that I was afraid to go for in the first set.”In the super tiebreaker, Ostapenko raced to an 8-2 lead before quelling a brief recovery by Williams.Williams said she was delighted with the way she competed.“For me, it is all about physical, how I am feeling physically … I am just proud being out here and playing in Abu Dhabi and to be able to just compete. I have had a tough few months and I am just excited to be able to play again.”It was the first time a women’s match had been played in the traditionally men’s only exhibition event.South Africa’s Kevin Anderson defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-6 (0) in the men’s final. read more