Despite March Madness being right around the corner, the biggest story in college athletics currently is the admissions bribery scandal in which the FBI alleges three organizers, two ACT/SAT administrators, an exam proctor, one college administrator, nine coaches from elite schools, and 33 parents conspired to nefariously gain children entry into prestigious colleges.
Dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” the sports world became entangled in this web after various college coaches accepted bribes to “recruit” some students “to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits — regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport they were purportedly recruited to play,” according to court records.
Of the federal indictments, which included those at Yale, Stanford, UCLA, Georgetown, the University of San Diego, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, and the University of Southern California, golf coaches have not been revealed to be involved in the wrongdoing as of yet, but golf has a connection to the scandal through one of the most high-profile perpetrators: Mossimo Giannulli, and his wife, Lori Loughlin.
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) March 14, 2019
Giannulli is the founder and lead designer of GFore, a luxury golf brand that is known for its colorful gloves and fashion-forward clothing. The brand is worn most notably by Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Tom Watson, Thomas Detry & Brandt Snedeker.
Giannulli, and his wife, an actress best known for her role on “Full House,” are accused of paying $500,000 worth of bribes to USC to have their daughters designated as recruits of the university’s crew team despite neither having any competitive rowing experience.
By means of proof, Giannulli is said to have sent photos of his daughters using an indoor rowing machine, which was used for their “recruitment.” They have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Also causing the ire of the golf world was the involvement of IMG Academy, where a top college admissions advisor was arrested, according to Golfweek.com.
— Golfweek (@golfweek) March 13, 2019
One of IMG’s claims to fame is that no school has “generated as many college scholarships or put as many players on professional tours as the IMG Academy,” which will cause a skeptical eye to be turned on the Bradenton, Florida school.