James Van Der Beek has the perfect response to college scam 'Operation Varsity Blues'

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James Van Der Beek in <em>Varsity Blues</em>. (Photo: Everett Collection)
James Van Der Beek in Varsity Blues. (Photo: Everett Collection)

James Van Der Beek probably didn’t wake up Tuesday expecting to have a link to the day’s biggest story, but that’s what happened.

Federal officials announced 50 wealthy people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged for allegedly participating in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam. The investigation was named “Operation Varsity Blues” and Van Der Beek, who starred in the 1999 film Varsity Blues, hilariously reacted to the news on Twitter.

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In the cult classic, the 42-year-old actor played “Mox,” a high school backup quarterback suddenly thrust into the starting position and expected to carry the team to a divisional title with the weight of his small town on his shoulders. As he looks at his future, Mox is torn between following his own passions and pursuing football, a path his father wants him to take. The build-up leads to a scene where Van Der Beek yells at his father, “I don’t want your life.” It’s been a popular GIF and meme for years.

The phrase might apply to some of the kids wrapped up in the wild story. At a press conference Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling called the scheme the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.” Parents allegedly paid an organization to take the SAT or ACT on behalf of their kids or to correct their answers. The organization is also accused of bribing college coaches to help admit the students as recruited athletes with some defendants supposedly creating fake athletic profiles for their children.

Loughlin and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to the released indictment. The Fuller House star’s daughters, Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, are both enrolled at University of Southern California.

Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, allegedly paid $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation for their daughter to take the SAT at a “controlled” testing center where someone would correct answers without the daughter’s knowledge.

No children were charged in the indictment.


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