UCLA men's soccer coach placed on leave after indictment in college admissions scam

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

LOS ANGELES -- Longtime UCLA men's soccer coach Jorge Salcedo was placed on leave by the school Tuesday morning after he was indicted for his alleged role in a widespread corruption scheme involving the admission of students to top universities using falsified test scores and athletic profiles.

Salcedo was alleged to have accepted $200,000 in bribes for facilitating the enrollment of one female and one male student at the school under the pretense of being soccer players even though they did not play the sport competitively.

"The conduct alleged in the filings revealed today is deeply disturbing and in contrast with the expectations we have of our coaches to lead their teams with honesty and integrity," read a joint statement from UCLA and the school's athletic department. "If the facts alleged are true, they represent a grave departure from the ethical standards we set for ourselves and the people who work here."

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday indicted dozens of people -- including four with ties to the USC athletic department and a pair of Hollywood stars -- in connection with an elaborate scheme aimed at getting students into elite colleges.

The scheme centered around the owner of a for-profit Newport Beach college admissions company that wealthy parents allegedly paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown for which they otherwise might not qualify, according to court records.

A UCLA athletic department official said the school was not aware of any current student-athletes being under suspicion in the case. The official added that the school was cooperating with the Department of Justice and would conduct its own review to determine the proper steps to take to address the situation.

According to the indictment, Salcedo forwarded the high school transcript and standardized test scores of the female student (described in court documents as "UCLA Applicant 1") in May 2016. The student had been given a falsified soccer profile by William Rick Singer, founder of a college prep business called the Edge and Career Network in Newport Beach that was forwarded from then-USC women's soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin to Salcedo.

After the applicant was provisionally admitted to UCLA in June 2016 as a student-athlete, court documents allege, Singer directed a $100,000 payment from a charitable account to a sports marketing company that Salcedo controlled.

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Salcedo was also alleged to have facilitated the enrollment of a male student who was the son of another Singer client. The student did not play competitive soccer but was designated as a recruit for the men's soccer team by Salcedo and admitted to UCLA. Court documents show that Singer mailed Salcedo a check for $100,000, drawn on a charitable account, in October 2018 exchange for the assistance in enrolling the applicant.

Salcedo has been the Bruins' coach for 15 seasons, making him the second-longest tenured coach in the program's history. He's compiled a record of 182-89-4 at the school, guiding UCLA to 14 NCAA Tournaments and the national championship game in 2006 and 2014.

Salcedo won three national championships as a player at UCLA from 1990 to 1993 and had been a ball boy for the team when it won its first national title in 1985.

Assistant coaches Matt Taylor and Phil Marfuggi will coach the team in Salcedo's absence.

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