New LA Times story on Rick Singer/USC/Admissions scandal

Discussion in 'GarryP's Trojan Huddle' started by ErikMcKinney, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. New LA Times story on Rick Singer/USC/Admissions scandal
    ErikMcKinney

    ErikMcKinney Administrator

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    #1
    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-22/new-transcripts-offer-uncut-glimpse-of-how-rick-singer-worked

    They want to review interviews with employees of the schools Singer defrauded, to see whether the schools — USC, chiefly — endorsed an admissions-for-donations practice as institutional policy. They want records of whether Singer stole from his clients, as Wilson’s lawyers say he stole from the financier, pocketing $100,000 of what Wilson believed was a $200,000 payment to a USC athletics program as his “middleman fee.”

    And they want any agreements the government has struck with Singer and USC employees in exchange for their cooperation. In support of that request, the lawyers attached to their filing an email thread between leaders of USC’s athletics department, discussing a father’s $500,000 pledge and whether it could be used to fund his daughter’s beach volleyball scholarship.

    “Not sure about all of this,” Pat Haden, the school’s athletic director at the time, wrote in an email. “Let’s discuss tomorrow and get it right.”

    Ron Orr, one of Haden’s lieutenants, said while it was a “nice gift,” he too had “some concerns on gift agreement.”

    Later that day, Donna Heinel, another top administrator, replied to Orr, Haden and two other USC officials: “Let everyone know it has been approved by compliance. [The father] can give a gift that ultimately is used for scholarship dollars for his daughter.”

    Michael Kendall, Wilson’s lead attorney, said in his motion these emails show “USC, as well as some of its employees, likely violated tax laws through the practice of recycling donations into scholarships for at least one donor’s child.” If prosecutors have made a deal with the school to look past the incident, in exchange for cooperation from its employees, that agreement should be disclosed, Kendall wrote.

    Doug Fuchs, an attorney representing USC, told The Times that no such deal or agreement exists between the school and prosecutors. “USC cooperates with law enforcement and voluntarily complied with the government’s requests in connection with its investigation into the college admissions fraud,” he said Saturday.

    The school “acted properly” with regards to the donation discussed in the email thread, Fuchs said. “The student in question was a highly accomplished athlete and it is unfair to suggest otherwise,” he said.
     
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  2. BigGuard

    BigGuard Junior Member


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    #2
    I have no words left to describe my level of disgust with USC. Football had been the last element where I could be proud of my love and appreciation for the university. Since that's been taken from me, it's laid bare that the school from which I graduated has turned into a place consumed with prestige at any cost.

    How these people still maintain their positions within the athletic department is beyond explaining and sadly there is no one to hold them to task.
     
  3. gubo&palanka

    gubo&palanka Points Member

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    #4
    USC is Jay Gatsby, desperately hoping to buy his way into society and be accepted by old money and Ivy Leaguers. It's sad and almost pathetic to watch.
     
  4. TrojanHoss

    TrojanHoss Junior Member


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    #5
    I believe that this explains retaining Helton more than anything else. USC football needs to be squeaky clean for a while. A winning program comes second. I truly believe this is the present thinking by Folt and company.

    I don't like it but it seems that this is the price we get to pay. Thanks Max and Pat.
     
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  5. GLA4USC

    GLA4USC Junior Member


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    #6
    Not surprising to find this tone in the Los Angeles Times, but the article describes this whole scheme as an attempt to "rip off some of the country’s most elite universities." The parties being "ripped off," at least in my book, are the parents who are being extorted for major bucks to get their unqualified little darlings into schools where the folks are then going to pay staggering tuition fees. At least until the scandal broke, the "elite universities" suffered negligible harm (and did pick up some extra donation money).
     
  6. Area51Trojan

    Area51Trojan Junior Member


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    #7
    I agree but would substitute prestige with money.

    We saw this with the hiring of Haden after the NCAA and Media saw the hiring of Lane as a big FU to all of them. There is assuredly truth in that statement.

    We have so many scandals under the watch of Max and everything he touched. I personally believe on the football side everyone and I mean from HH on down needs to be replaced that was here under Max and the sanctions. The sanctions changed our mindset from domination to survival and even to this day we see it in the practices and results on the field. The sanctions because of the lack of leadership to fight back had cower...we neutered ourselves. The only way to overcome this is a complete destruction and rebuild.

    The school itself, good luck with that. Without injecting politics on the football side, no matter who you support we all know once political appointees are made on the BOT, jobs provided to like minded in leadership and a culture developed it is almost impossible for any one person to defeat that entrenched system.

    It's so hard to watch a school I am a graduate of that brought my wife and I together and lifelong friends fall so deeply. I would rather be a 37th ranked school than be a whore of an institution that runs commercials 24/7 in Asia fishing for money.
     
  7. GLA4USC

    GLA4USC Junior Member


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    #8
    Not surprising to find this tone in the Los Angeles Times, but the article describes this whole scheme as an attempt to "rip off some of the country’s most elite universities." The parties being "ripped off," at least in my book, are the parents who are being extorted for major bucks to get their unqualified little darlings into schools where the folks are then going to pay staggering tuition fees. At least until the scandal broke, the "elite universities" suffered negligible harm (and did pick up some extra donation money).
     
  8. KANDI11

    KANDI11 Junior Member


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    #9
    No one has taken SC FB from you because of a scandal. You might not like the state of the program, heck who does? but it’s still there.
    We got a Bowl game in a couple of days and we have some really good players that will take the field. Get behind them and root this team on.
     
  9. TrojanMoondoggie

    TrojanMoondoggie Junior Member


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    #10
    That pretty much nails it. A few months ago, I was thinking the same thing, though I equated it to Stanford being the stud muffin guy on campus who has looks, brains and charms that comes naturally, while USC is the wannabe who covets everything that Stanford guy has and keeps trying to be that Stanford guy, but steps in it at every turn. And becomes the laughing stock of the campus.

    As a former English/Lit major, I like your analogy better.

    USC leadership (former, and some, still present) just doesn't have the ethical smarts, or whatever, to get it done the right way. The smarts they do have are more of the wily sort, but they're not the kind of smarts that will (obviously) get you to the next level in an admirable way.

    I'm not saying that the Stanfords and Ivies are squeaky clean and that this kind of thing hasn't been going on behind the scenes since the beginning of time, but USC just has a special way of doing it big. And I don't mean that in a positive way.

    I think it's just best that USC stay a "football school" at this point. Because if you're not going to have an ethical leadership who has the smarts to take it to the next level in academics without scandal, then don't even try. Remain a decent university with a great football team. And move on. I'm really not all that sure how seriously the general populace takes USC anyway. You take 100 random people across this country and say Stanford, ucla, and USC. Stanford will probably get almost total favorable responses. An academically elite university that is the Ivy of the west. Will some know it also leads the nation in national athletic championships? Maybe. But that's just the icing on the cake. Mention ucla, and they will also get largely favorable responses. Many will mention their basketball tradition, but they'll also be seen as academically strong too. Not Stanford strong, but strong. Mention USC? You'll get, 'Yeah that's that football school out west, isn't it?' And then mention of the scandals.

    Now we know that USC is more than that. It has some of the smartest kids in the world studying on its campus. We all know the caliber of professors it has. Indeed, the saddest thing is in this "rise" to even more academic prominence, USC has brought in students who really are among the cream of the crop. They already had, and continue to hire, amazing professors who are highly astute and accomplished academics. IMO, USC is full of prestige when you're talking about its professors and academics, and its student body.
    It's the leadership that has proven strictly amateur hour. Barnum & Bailey, if you will. And they are the ones who have made decisions that have put USC in the headlines at every turn.

    And this is why I tend to be easier on newly-appointed Folt than most on here. She has a lot on her plate. And it's not just about making the football fans happy. If one desires to be a football school again and not worry about the other piece, then I understand the anger. But there are a lot of smart kids on that campus and a lot of accomplished professors and academics who she has to answer to now as well. In light of all this controversy though, football becomes just one cog in a bigger wheel. And as it stands right now, the football program is clean, and is being run by a clean, though rather inept, coach.
     
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  10. gubo&palanka

    gubo&palanka Points Member

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    #11
    Very well said.
     
  11. denali15

    denali15 Points Member


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    #12
    Stanford sometimes calls itself the "Harvard of the West." They also sneer that USC is trying to become the "Stanford of the West."
    Got to admit there might be something to that...
     
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  12. PickSicx

    PickSicx Junior Member


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    #13
    I knew it. EVERYONE knew it. Haden was up to his eyeballs in this pay-to-play scheme.

    Swann had to have been as well. There is no way Swann would have been hired unless he was on-board with Nikias' "Raising money is your highest priority" philosophy. So Swann came in and realized that Haden had already found a short-cut to fund raising: promise admission in exchange for a big donation.

    The corruption and sickness started at the top with Max Nikias. His ONLY priority was grabbing more and more money, period. The entire organization is infected with that sickness.

    Like our football program, this is going to get much uglier before it gets better.
     
  13. PickSicx

    PickSicx Junior Member


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    #14
    Stanford doesn't call itself that. Others might, but Stanford has always knows who they are and who they are not.

    Its USC that doesn't seem to have any self-awareness.
     
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  14. BigGuard

    BigGuard Junior Member


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    #15
    While I'll watch the game and never root against SC, it's tough to also cheer for them. I don't separate the team from the university. Duck fans I know always like to brag about their sports teams never considering the sorry state of their academic programs. When the team succeeds it further validates the decisions of HH.
     
  15. 87trojan

    87trojan Points Member


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    #16
    It does sadden me what has gone on at USC at so many levels. Shame we bastardized the place in a quest for money and prestige. If my fellow alum dad were alive today, I am sure he would cut off all association with the school including football. That would be very unfortunate, but I think it would have happened.
     
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  16. Troy4 me

    Troy4 me Points Member


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    #17
    Spot on, except you’re about 5 years behind the ucla comparison — USC past them up academically more than a few years ago, Ask any new HSer today and they know it’s harder to get into SC now. I asked most of my son’s friends at Arcadia HS — their choice: Stanford, USC, Berkeley, UCLA. That’s today’s environment and expectations now.
     
  17. ConquerorSC

    ConquerorSC Points Member


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    #18
    Steve Sample was brilliant in figuring out how to get USC to rise in the US News and World Report rankings by targeting key metrics that the university could actually influence (one of them being alumni donations and fundraising, which partly got us into the mess we’re in). The problem is that Sample only targeted the USNWR rankings, but USC stills falls way behind in practically every other ranking of comprehensive/national universities. Top students vying for a spot at Ivy League and top schools know this because they look beyond the USNWR rankings. Max doubled down on these latter rankings and made some terrible choices along the way (the embarrassing fiascos in San Diego with the planned but failed takeover of the Scripps Research Institute in one hand and the pilfering of a UCSD Alzheimer’s researcher with all of his staff on the other) instead of building reputable centers and staff from the ground up. Yet more examples of how Max Nikias tried to buy prestige and reputation, with it blowing up in his face.
     
  18. Troy4 me

    Troy4 me Points Member


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    #19
    Wall Street Journal — USC #18, UCLA #25, Why do I feel like I just exposed a calstate alum?
     
  19. Troy4 me

    Troy4 me Points Member


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    #20
    Don’t feel bad — for public schools UCLA did great. SC beat Ucla, does it hurt you?
     

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