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UT Austin Is Sued Over College Admissions In Class-Action Lawsuit

Gabriel C. Pérez

UT Austin has been named in a class-action lawsuit over a national, $25-million college admissions scandal that has led to scores of indictments across the country – including the university's men's tennis coach, who was fired yesterday.

The suit, filed by two California students at Stanford, alleges UT and seven other universities were engaged in a scheme in which affluent clients of William Singer paid to secure students' admission through falsified test scores or recruitment as student-athletes from 2011 to 2018.

Singer, who managed the payment scheme through a for-profit admissions consulting firm called The Key and a nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation, pleaded guilty to a handful of felony charges on Monday.

Longtime UT men's tennis coach Michael Center was one of dozens of college officials indicted Monday. He is accused of accepting nearly $100,000 in 2015 to secure the recruitment of a California student who didn't play tennis.

Center was arrested Tuesday morning on charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was placed on administrative leave by the university. He was fired yesterday.

The lawsuit says the universities involved in the alleged scheme were negligent and that the system of fraudulent test scores and recruitment led to "unqualified students [finding] their way into the admissions rolls of highly selective universities."

"Each of the universities were negligent in failing to maintain adequate protocols and security measures in place to guarantee the sanctity of the college admissions process, and to ensure that their own employees were not engaged in these type of bribery schemes," the suit claims.

In a statement today, UT said it has a "thorough, holistic admissions process."

"The actions alleged by federal prosecutors against one UT employee were not in line with that policy and may have been criminal. They do not reflect our admissions process."

This story has been updated.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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