Oct 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Photo of Gordon Ernst and another person walking outside a red brick courthouse

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

  • Ernst named at least 12 Georgetown applicants as tennis recruits, including some who did not play competitively, prosecutors say. Doing so gave them an edge in admissions.
  • He later failed to report payments from the bribes on federal income tax returns.

Driving the news: Ernst agreed on Monday to a sentence of at least one year and up to four years in prison, two years of supervised release and a forfeiture of $3,435,053.

  • The charge of federal programs bribery provides for a maximum sentence of 10 years.

The big picture: Fallout from Operation Varsity Blues continues two years after federal prosecutors charged at least 50 people for allegedly bribing coaches and paying for forged standardized tests in a conspiracy to get their children into elite American colleges.

  • Earlier this month, two parents were found guilty for their participation in what federal prosecutors have called the biggest college admissions scam in U.S. history. They were the first to stand trial in the scandal.
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