Former UT Men's Tennis Coach Michael Center To Plead Guilty In College Admissions Scandal
The former UT Austin men's tennis coach will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for receiving money to recruit an unqualified student to the university's tennis team in 2015, the Department of Justice said.
Michael Center was put on administrative leave the day he was indicted on two charges of mail fraud for accepting $60,000 personally in the scheme and was later fired. He also received $40,000 on behalf of the university's tennis program, authorities say.
The longtime coach faces 20 years in prison, three years' probation and a fine of at least $250,000.
Center is among 14 defendants – including actress Felicity Huffman – whom the DOJ said will plead guilty to charges in the wide-ranging admissions scandal that was spearheaded by William "Rick" Singer.
Federal prosecutors say Singer falsified standardized tests or athletic credentials of potential students in exchange for money in the yearslong scheme to admit students at Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Wake Forest and UT Austin. Singer pleaded guilty to charges last month.
UT Austin is currently named in a class-action lawsuit from two students in California who allege the scheme devalued their degrees and that the universities were negligent in failing to maintain the "sanctity" of the admissions process. UT Austin is also being investigated by the Department of Education and is conducting an internal review of its admissions processes.
This is a developing story.