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Stanford Safeguarding Athlete Admissions Process

Paul Steinbach

In the wake of the recent admissions bribery scandal that has implicated several elite colleges, Stanford has added another layer to its admissions process for students applying to the university as athletes.

Under new measures announced jointly Thursday by Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne and university provost Persis Drell, an athletics department official will now "review and confirm" the athletic credentials for recruits in all 36 varsity men's and women's sports. Previously, only the coach was responsible for reviewing such credentials before passing them to the admissions office, according to The Stanford Daily.

The school will also review rules over teams accepting gifts. Moreover, it is working with the California attorney general’s office to determine how to redistribute the $770,000 the sailing team received as part of the scandal.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanford head sailing coach John Vandemoer pleaded guilty March 12 to accepting $770,000 in bribes from Key Worldwide Foundation to help recruit two students with minimal sailing experience onto his team. Neither student wound up attending Stanford, but a third did with fabricated sailing credentials. School officials said they continue to "work to verify the circumstances around this student and will take whatever actions are appropriate." They said the $500,000 contribution linked to the student was made several months after she was admitted.

Vandemoer was immediately fired and faces 18 months in prison.

"We know that this episode has jarred the trust of many Americans in the college admissions process, and it has prompted many questions from the Stanford community," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote in a blog post. "We are determined to take the right steps at Stanford to ensure the integrity of our process and to work toward rebuilding that trust."

According to school officials, Stanford has reviewed the athletic credentials for all its current sailors dating back to 2011 and found them to be legitimate. In addition, the school has reviewed the athletic credentials of recruits within its newest admissions class and found no evidence of bogus resumes or applicants linked to donations from the bogus KWF charity.

“We are committed to ensuring that financial contributions to Stanford receive the proper scrutiny," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote, "and to ensuring that donors are never under the impression that a place at Stanford can be bought.”

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