Devin Sloane, the Los Angeles businessman who paid $250,000 to pose his son as a star water polo recruit to gain admission to USC, was sentenced to four months in jail on Tuesday.
The money was paid to Rick Singer, who founded a for-profit college counseling service called “The Edge College & Career Network” as well as a nonprofit called the “Key Worldwide Foundation” to help wealthy parents cheat the college admissions system.
Sloane, through Singer, bribed USC water polo staff to get his son admitted under the guise of being an international player with “the youth junior team in Italy” who participated in tournaments around Europe. Sloane posed his son, who had never played water polo competitively, for photos with water polo gear in their backyard pool to help create a fake recruiting profile (and had those images photoshopped to be more convincing).
When a question arose about Sloane’s son’s legitimacy as a recruit, then-head coach Jovan Vavic advocated for him to the admissions office, saying that Sloane’s son “would be the fastest player on our team,” and that he could swim 50 yards in 20 seconds, according to Sports Illustrated’s Tim Rohan.
Vavic, a 15-time national coach of the year, was fired the day he was indicted in federal court for his role in the scheme. Vavic would take payouts from Singer’s foundation through a bank account that funded the Trojans’ team in exchange for listing students as his recruited athletes.
The students would never join the water polo team, but because of their athlete status, would be subjected to far less stringent academic standards for admission that other students. According to the indictment, the foundation paid for Vavic’s children to attend private school, as well as subsidized Vavic’s staff’s pay. He has pleaded not guilty.
Devin Sloane is second parent sentenced in ‘Varsity Blues’ case
Government officials sought a year in prison for Sloane, whose lawyers argued for no jail time at all, and instead suggested that Sloane could do 2,000 hours of community service by working with kids at a private school, according to Law360 reporter Chris Villani.
Sloane is the second parent sentenced out of more than 30 indicted. The first was actress Felicity Huffman, who paid $15,000 in bribes and was sentenced to 14 days.
Villani reported that Huffman’s sentence was shorter, in part, because she “kept her children out of the scam,” as opposed to Sloane, who “literally threw his kid into the family pool.”
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