Ex-tennis coach pleads guilty in college admissions case

A man wearing a suit and tie walks as videographers follow him
Gordon Ernst, a former Georgetown tennis coach, was accused of accepting more than $2 million to help the children of wealthy parents get into the school.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

A former Georgetown University tennis coach pleaded guilty Monday in Boston federal court in the college admissions bribery case.

Gordon Ernst was accused of accepting more than $2 million to help the children of wealthy parents get into the school in Washington, D.C.

The 54-year-old, who has residences in Chevy Chase, Md., and Falmouth, Mass., appeared virtually for his Monday hearing. He’ll be sentenced in March.


Prosecutors, in a plea deal announced last month, recommended that Ernst serve no more than four years in prison.

Two wealthy parents have been convicted of buying their kids’ way into school as athletic recruits in the first case to go to trial in the college admissions cheating scandal.

Oct. 8, 2021

Ernst agreed to plead guilty to multiple counts of federal programs bribery and one count of filing a false tax return. He has also agreed to forfeit $3.4 million earned from the scheme, in which wealthy parents conspired with a college admissions consultant to get their children into elite schools, often as fake athletic recruits.

Ernst had been slated to face trial in November.

Several other coaches have also admitted to taking bribes, including former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, who was sentenced to eight months behind bars.

Federal prosecutors earlier this month promised to drop their case against former Wake Forest University coach William Ferguson if he pays a $50,000 fine and follows certain conditions.

All told, 57 people have been charged in the case, including famous parents like actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Nearly four dozen have pleaded guilty.