USC AD Lynn Swann Was ‘Blindsided’ By Operation Varsity Blues

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People across the United States have spent the last few days being totally stunned by Operation Varsity Blues, a gigantic bribery scheme that saw rich parents, such as actresses Felicity Hoffman and Lori Loughlin, find illegal ways to get their children into prestigious colleges. A sting occurred earlier this week by he Justice Department, and according to reports, most of the children involved in this scheme were unaware that their parents were forking over gigantic sums of cash to get them into schools.

One such university was USC, which saw senior athletic director Donna Heinel and longtime water polo coach Jovan Vavic get arrested for allegedly playing roles in the scheme. The pair were fired by athletic director Lynn Swann after they were taken into custody on Thursday, and on Friday, Swann spoke about the allegations for the first time since they were levied against the pair.

“The reason why no one would know that this was happening is because we had one person in charge of submitting the academic records to our admissions department,” Swann said, according to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times. “And that one person was in charge of getting that information back and distributing it to the coaches and letting other people know. So when there’s trust that this one person is doing the right thing, which Donna had been doing for years, there’s not a problem. … So a coach could give her a list of five names and she could add a sixth name, give it to admissions, have it go through, admissions gives it back to her, she gives it back to the coach with only the five names that the coach gave her. The coach doesn’t know, no one knows, except for the person who added the extra name.”

Swann went on to say he has zero plans of resigning in light of the allegations against those in his athletic department and made a promise promise that USC will work to change its protocols when it comes to athletics going forward.

“We will work with the administration, admissions, sports administrators, recruiters and scouts so there are more eyeballs on this,” Swann said. “Moving forward when a list of names is being put forward, the coach sees it, the recruiter sees it, the administrator sees it and others see it so we know these are real student-athletes that we’re trying to get. Whether they’re a preferred walk-on in football or someone else, we need to know these are real student-athletes.”

(Via Los Angeles Times)