Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was “absolutely shocked” by the college admissions scam that surfaced this week involving Hollywood stars and a number of prominent universities across the country.
Bowlsby was Stanford’s athletics director when he hired John Vandemoer to become the school’s sailing coach. Vandemoer has plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges and been fired by Stanford.
“I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked,” Bowlsby said. “He’s a very successful coach. A very solid guy. When I heard there was an exchange of funds, I was pretty sure that he hadn’t taken it for himself personally, but that doesn’t mitigate what he did.”
The University of Texas is among the schools implicated in the scheme, and fired tennis coach Michael Center on Wednesday.
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Told the scandal could shake people’s perception of the admissions process, Bowlsby agreed saying: “How can you not?”
Asked who deserves the blame, whether its ADs or university presidents for oversight, Bowlsby said: “I’m not sure how you oversee that. One of the things I wondered about is how do you go about approaching some of these people [to bribe]? I don’t know how you’d begin to have that conversation.”
Bowlsby said the real victims in the situation are the students who didn’t get accepted to certain universities.
“That’s where the real victim is, the kid who got bounced out because somebody else got in,” Bowlsby said. “These kids are all obviously high academic kids. Stanford has 40,000-plus applications and take a couple thousand … for every one that gets in, somebody gets left out.”