Wake Forest University Coach Named In Admissions Bribery Case

Wake Forest University Coach Named In Admissions Bribery Case

11:15am Mar 12, 2019
A sports field on the Wake Forest University campus. NEAL CHARNOFF/WFDD

Federal authorities have indicted Wake Forest’s volleyball coach as part of a wide-sweeping investigation into a college admissions scam.

University officials have suspended coach Bill Ferguson and hired outside legal counsel to look into the matter. The university has declined to comment further.

The scheme involved wealthy parents bribing a college admissions insider to get their children into some of the most elite colleges, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said parents paid an admissions consultant from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes to boost their children's chances of getting into schools.

Most of the cases involved non-revenue sports.

Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.

Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were also among nearly 50 people charged.

The bribes allegedly came through an admissions consulting company in Newport Beach, California. Authorities said parents paid William Singer, the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, a total of approximately $25 million to get their children into college.

In Wake Forest’s case, the indictment alleges that in 2017 Singer directed $100,000 from a charitable foundation connected to Singer to be sent to Ferguson, the volleyball coach. The money broke down to $50,000 for a private volleyball camp Ferguson controlled, $40,000 to the university’s volleyball program, and $10,000 to the Wake Forest Deacon Club, a fundraising arm for the university’s athletics department.

In exchange for the money, Ferguson agreed to designate the daughter of one of Singer’s clients as a recruit for the volleyball team. The student had previously applied and had been placed on a waiting list, and the recruit designation facilitated her admission to the university.

Ferguson took over the program in 2016. He previously had been a head coach at the University Southern California. The coach of USC’s water polo team was among those charged Tuesday.

At Wake Forest, Ferguson replaced Ken Murczek, who resigned in 2016 amid allegations of physical and mental abuse made by former players.

Copyright 2019 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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