The university said that the admissions department was unaware of the fraud, which was perpetrated by “a small number of athletics department employees,” all of whom “have been disciplined and/or are no longer employed by the university.”
Since the case was announced in March 2019, U.S.C. has made changes to its admissions process for athletes, including requiring each head coach to certify in writing that a student is being recruited for their athletic ability, and mandating that an Office of Athletic Compliance confirm that each admitted student ultimately joins a team. The university said that a task force led by Charles Zukoski, the new provost, and Mike Bohn, the new director of athletics, was examining whether to make further reforms to the admissions process.
Other schools, including Harvard, have put in place new, or newly official, policies around fund-raising. Harvard was not involved in the admissions case but has come under scrutiny for issues involving donations. This year the university codified its policies on gifts; under the new rules, it will not solicit gifts from any donor known to have a family member applying for admission to Harvard.
The University of Virginia now asks students being recruited for athletic teams to sign a pledge that they will actually join the team. It also prohibits its athletic department from soliciting or accepting gifts from families of student-athletes while they are being recruited.
The scandal may also have contributed to growing criticism of standardized tests in college admissions. But it ultimately took a more disruptive force — the coronavirus pandemic — to cause what appears likely to be a sea change in the use of those tests.
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With many students unable to take the SAT or ACT because of cancellations, hundreds of schools, including all of the Ivy League, have made submitting SAT or ACT scores optional for the coming admissions cycle. The University of California, which had already been under pressure to stop requiring the tests, voted in May to phase them out permanently. While other schools have described the change as temporary, admissions officers said it was unlikely that schools would revert to their old policies, given evidence that the tests advantage wealthy students.
“There’s not very many examples of colleges and universities moving to test-optional that then move right back,” said Jonathan Burdick, the vice provost for enrollment at Cornell University, adding that he expected to see “a real reset” on the use of standardized tests. Cornell has announced only that it will be test-optional for this year, and has said that it will evaluate its experience before deciding on a permanent policy.