Yale Reports that Internal Investigation by WilmerHale Shows Recruiting Scandal Was Isolated
An investigation by outside legal counsel has found no evidence that any Yale coach other than former women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith accepted bribes to provide fraudulent athletic endorsements or that anyone other than two previously identified applicants received such endorsements.
The four-month investigation, conducted by the law firm WilmerHale at the request of Yale, included a review of thousands of documents and interviews with coaches and administrators in athletics and admissions.
The external investigation is one of a series of measures the university has initiated to ensure the integrity of its admissions process. It has established new protocols for athletic recruiting and strengthened its admissions procedures. It also is working with the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on additional safeguards.
Meredith, who resigned in November 2018, pleaded guilty in March to fraud-related charges after admitting to federal authorities that he had participated in a bribery scheme run by William Singer, the CEO of a California-based college prep company. Singer’s scheme also involved paying bribes to coaches at several other selective universities and helping applicants cheat on standardized tests.
Of the two applicants to whom Meredith provided fraudulent athletic endorsements, one was denied admission while the other was admitted to Yale. That student’s admission was rescinded after Yale learned of the scheme.
Under the leadership of Athletic Director Victoria Chun, new protocols have been established to support closer coordination and extensive communication in the recruiting process for each of Yale’s 35 varsity sports teams. Under the new protocols, coaches will meet regularly with their sport supervisors — administrators assigned to oversee Yale’s athletic teams and provide closer supervision in all aspects of a team’s program, including recruiting. Coaches have been informed that fundraising is not a criterion for their evaluations.
Sports administrators not associated with the team will verify the athletic credentials of every recruit, using publicly available sources. When supporting a prospective student-athlete, a coach will include three external references to confirm a recruit’s athletic status. Further precautions will be taken to ensure that Yale monitors and understands cases where a given recruited athlete does not end up joining, or joins but later departs, the team for which they were recruited.
“We are fortunate to have outstanding coaches, staff and student-athletes,” said Chun, who joined Yale in July 2018. “Working together, we will incorporate these new safeguards as we recruit young people committed to excellence academically and athletically, and who strive to have a positive impact on the Yale community and beyond.”
In addition to the changes related to varsity athletics, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will institute procedures for verifying many of the academic and extracurricular credentials applicants self-report in their applications. These procedures will supplement the office’s existing processes, which include gathering information from multiple sources, requiring official high school transcripts and standardized test reports, and frequently contacting high school officials. Admissions officers have already begun a thorough review of the application evaluation process to identify areas where fraud may be possible.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan reiterated the University’s commitment to evaluating each applicant through a careful whole-person review process. “The admissions process is designed to consider each applicant’s unique potential to contribute to the Yale community and benefit from Yale’s resources. We consider the myriad contextual factors that shape students’ educational journeys prior to applying and work with an awareness of the large, complex, and sometimes multigenerational advantages and disadvantages students experience. I am grateful that our thoughtful, deliberative, and human-centered process allows us to identify and respond to exceptionally promising students from all backgrounds.”
PwC has suggested additional protocols and improvements in Yale’s documentation of its admissions procedures and decisions, including an annual audit of applications and systems for monitoring aspects of the admissions process that may be at higher risk for fraud.
“Yale’s mission depends on our ability to maintain and protect an admissions process that brings to our campus extraordinary students with a wide range of talents, interests, viewpoints, and backgrounds,” said President Peter Salovey. “Staff members in admissions and athletics offices and across the university have been working tirelessly and passionately to safeguard the integrity of our admissions policies and procedures. Our community came together to reaffirm our commitment to admitting remarkable students from all walks of life — future leaders who will transform Yale and the world.”