Ex-Stanford coach avoids prison in U.S. college admissions scandal

College Admissions Bribery

College Admissions Bribery

Former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer has been sentenced to one day in prison for his role in the college admissions scandal, according to The Washington Post.

John Vandemoer, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel in Boston to six months of home confinement, rejecting prosecutors' request for a 13-month prison term after the former coach pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy.

This article has been updated to reflect that Vandemoer was fined $10,000 in addition to his prison and home confinement sentence.

His lawyers had sought probation, noting he didn't pocket any of the money for himself and put it all towards the sailing program.

"A big part of my coaching philosophy has always been that it's not the mistake that defines you, rather it is what you do afterwards", Vandemoer wrote in a statement. "We are short changing not only the criminal justice system, but all those kids in high school who are working hard every day in an effort to improve their own lives and to get into the best school they can honestly and through hard work", Rosen said.

California-based Stanford fired Vandemoer in March.

Vandemoer, under federal sentencing guidelines, could face up to four years in prison, records show. He also apologized to the alumni and current members of the sailing team, saying he is "devastated that the program and the sport would be looked at poorly because of [his] actions".

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After the student was admitted, Singer gave $500,000 to Vandemoer's program to secure his help for future applicants, prosecutors say.

"Mr. Vandemoer's actions in this matter are profoundly disappointing and especially so as he had a reputation of caring deeply for his student-athletes", said Debra Zumwalt, vice president and general counsel for Stanford University in a statement.

A third student was identified by the university as having worked with Singer and Vandemoer to get admitted into Stanford, university officials said. "All donations from Singer went directly to Stanford and the sailing team", Vandemoer said. The student ended up going to another school.

Prosecutors said that when that student chose to attend another school, Vandemoer agreed to use the same recruiting spot for a different child in exchange for $500,000.

The stage is now set for the 49 other defendants, parents who paid hundreds of thousands to get their children into elite schools and coaches who accepted and pocketed the cash.

Then came a $110,000 payment to Stanford sailing in 2018 associated with a prospective student whom Vandemoer designated as a sailing recruit, according to the sentencing memo. The list includes Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who is scheduled to be sentenced next week, and former Georgetown University soccer coach Gordon Ernst, who has pleaded not guilty.

The scandal - which was the result of a FBI investigation dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" - gained global attention after actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were indicted. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to charges that they paid $500,000 to bribe their two daughters into the University of Southern California.

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