University of Southern California interim president Wanda Austin announced in a memo to the USC community Wednesday new measures the school is taking to oversee student-athlete admissions.
The announcement comes in the wake of the federal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice that uncovered a bribery scheme in which wealthy parents bought admission to prestigious universities, including USC, under false pretenses — often by classifying the prospective student as a recruited athlete.
"While we continue to cooperate with the government’s investigation, and while our own investigation led by the Office of Professionalism and Ethics remains ongoing, USC has greatly strengthened its process for reviewing applications of prospective student-athletes, effective this month," Austin wrote, as reported by the Daily Trojan student newspaper.
According to the memo, student-athlete applications will now be reviewed by a head coach, senior sports administrator overseeing the team and the Office of Athletics Compliance before they are sent to the admissions staff. Each team's head coach will then confirm in writing that each student has been recruited for their athletic ability. At the beginning and end of each academic year, each team's athletic roster will be audited and cross-checked with admissions lists.
In regard to USC specifically, the FBI investigation found that former senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel, former water polo coach Jovan Vavic and former soccer coaches Ali Khosroshahin and Laura Janke helped create fake athletic profiles for the children of wealthy parents to ensure admission to the university. The students, who were admitted as athletic recruits, never played the sports for which they were accepted, according to the Daily Trojan.