The College Admissions Scandal: How Can We Prevent Another One?

Last Updated on February 3, 2023

In this episode, I’m joined by Melissa Korn, a Wall Street Journal reporter who co-authored the newly released book Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal with her WSJ colleague Jennifer Levitz.

One morning in March 2019, many of America’s rich and powerful woke to three hundred FBI agents at their doors. Among them were actress Felicity Huffman, designer Mossimo Giannulli, business executives and storied college coaches, with one thing in common: They’d all worked with Rick Singer. Sought after by wealthy parents as a college whisperer, Singer helped children nationwide secure spots at the schools of their dreams–for some, by any means necessary. When his scheme crumbled, more than 50 people would be criminally charged. 

In Unacceptable, veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Korn and Levitz trace the rise and ruin of the largest scam of its kind ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. With unparalleled access to primary players in the case, they reveal how Singer cashed in on the ultimate status symbol: an acceptance letter at Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, or USC. They detail how the scheme exploited existing loopholes, with bribes and lies giving already privileged families an irresistible edge.

In this episode, Melissa and I talked about how this story unfolded and what college athletic administrators should be on the lookout for in the future to prevent this from happening again.

You can follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaKorn

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