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UCLA

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

UCLA Men’s Soccer coach, Jorge Salcedo during a game versus San Diego State University, Drake Stadiu
UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo in 2014.
(Don Liebig / UCLA Athletics)

Longtime UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo was placed on leave by the school Tuesday morning after being indicted as part of a widespread corruption scheme involving the admission of students to top universities using falsified test scores and athletic profiles.

Salcedo has been charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering after allegedly accepting $200,000 in bribes for his role in facilitating the enrollment of one female student and one male student to the school under the pretense of being soccer players even though they did not play the sport competitively.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeks $200,000 in a forfeiture money judgment from Salcedo.

“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.”

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An 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, one female applicant (described in court documents as “UCLA Applicant 1”) had been given a fake soccer profile generated in the spring of 2016 by William Rick Singer, the founder of a Newport Beach-based college prep business called The Edge & Career Network.

The fake profile was allegedly forwarded from then-USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin to Salcedo. Four days later, the applicant’s parents sent Singer their daughter’s high school transcript and standardized test scores, which were forwarded to Salcedo and then passed along to “a UCLA women’s soccer coach.”

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 fake charitable account created as part of the scheme to a sports marketing company that Salcedo controlled. As part of the admissions agreement, the applicant was required to participate on the UCLA women’s soccer team for a minimum of one athletic year; it was not immediately clear if the student ever joined the team. An athletic department official said the school could not comment on students or prospective students.

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Full coverage: Dozens charged in connection with college admissions scheme »

Later that summer, the parents of the applicant allegedly donated 2,150 shares of Facebook stock valued at $251,159 to the fake charity controlled by Singer as a purported tax-deductible charitable contribution. The letter acknowledging receipt of the payment stated: “Your generosity will allow us to move forward with our plans to provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.”

Three days later, Singer is alleged to have mailed Khosroshahin a $25,000 check drawn on one of the fake charity’s accounts.

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 the fake charitable account, in October 2018 in exchange for his assistance in enrolling the applicant.

Singer also allegedly paid Khosroshahin an additional $25,000 for helping to facilitate the student’s admission to UCLA. Khosroshahin was the coach at USC from 2007 to 2013.

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 national championship game appearances in 2006 and 2014.

Salcedo won three national championships as a player at UCLA from 1990-93 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. Salcedo did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch


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