UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo resigns amid scandal
UCLA men’s soccer head coach Jorge Salcedo has resigned following an investigation that became public earlier this month, exposing alleged bribery and corruption in the athletic recruiting and admissions process at several universities.
Salcedo is accused of accepting around $200,000 in bribes to assist in pushing through a pair of applications to UCLA, containing fraudulent information about the prospective students’ status as recruited athletes. Neither of the applicants, one male and one female, played competitive soccer, but they were granted admission anyway, and in some cases, even listed on the official UCLA athletic website roster.
One of the student that Salcedo is accused of fraudulently endorsing as a soccer recruit is Lauren Isackson, who was listed as a captain for Woodside Soccer Club in San Mateo County, Calif. However, there are no records that Isackson played for Woodside from 2012-2016, as her UCLA profile stated.
The Justice Department investigation also revealed similar corruption involving individuals at other prestigious universities including Yale, USC, Georgetown and Stanford. At the center of the scandal is California-based college admissions advisor William “Rick” Singer, who is accused of orchestrating the bribes between parents and university representatives, primarily coaches.
A former All-American player for UCLA, Salcedo’s departure marks the end of a 15-year coaching tenure with the Bruins. He helped lead UCLA to six conference championships, 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and an overall record of 182-89-42.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero released a statement on Friday about the situation.
Read the full statement from Guerrero below:
“Since the news of the Department of Justice investigation broke last week, I know there have been a number of questions and significant speculation concerning the involvement of UCLA Athletics. An internal review is underway, and while it would be premature to address specifics of the matter at this time, I do want to provide clarity where I can.
First and foremost, I understand and share the outrage that this news has sparked. The behavior described in the allegations is disturbing and unacceptable. As an athletic department, we pride ourselves on conducting our business with the utmost integrity. As I have said throughout my career, how we do things is just as important as the results we produce. Representing this university with character and integrity is paramount, not just for me, but for every coach, staff member and student-athlete.
We have received many questions about the student-athlete admissions process at UCLA, so let me explain how the process works.
All prospective scholarship and recruited non-scholarship student-athletes are vetted via a multi-step evaluation process. This process includes an evaluation of athletic ability, and academic preparation and engagement. Coaches submit a list of candidates for admissions consideration in their respective sports to athletic administration officials, who then review the candidates. Inherent in the process is a level of trust that the administration places in the coaches and their evaluations of the abilities and talent levels of prospective student-athletes. Athletic administration officials then present the candidates to the University’s Student-Athlete Admissions Committee (the “SAAC”). The SAAC is comprised of eight individuals, including admissions administrators and faculty members from varying disciplines across campus. Athletic administration officials present candidates, but do not have a vote in admission decisions.
Prospective student-athletes will be admitted only if, in the judgment of the SAAC, the prospective student-athlete can succeed academically and graduate from UCLA. Prospective student-athletes must be certified as NCAA-eligible in order to be approved for student-athlete admission. No prospective student-athlete will be offered admission, or be given any verbal indication of likely admission, prior to review and admission approval by the SAAC. Equally, National Letters of Intent or Grant-in-Aid contracts will not be offered to prospects until admission approval is granted by the SAAC.
We believe that our process is among the most demanding and thorough in collegiate athletics but, as the recent news illustrates, it is not foolproof. Despite the fact that we have confidence in the existing process, a breach of the system can obviously occur when individuals choose to act unethically, and contrary to the level of integrity that we expect. In collaboration with the University, we are currently reviewing every aspect of the student-athlete admissions process. We will use this opportunity to identify areas that can be strengthened, and we will take the appropriate steps to do so. Once those steps are identified, we will share them openly.
UCLA Athletics takes pride in what it means to be a Bruin, and we owe it to all students to ensure that fairness and integrity in the admissions process is maintained.”