WATCH: Alleged ring leader at center of college admissions scandal unmasked
Transcript for Alleged ring leader at center of college admissions scandal unmasked
We do have more now on that college admissions scandal stretching from Hollywood to the halls of America’s top universities. This morning, we’re learning more about the man at the center of it all, the alleged ringleader who promised to get kids into elite schools are to the right price. ABC’s linsey Davis has more. Reporter: Good morning. According to pew research millennials are on track to become the most college educated group to date. Rick singer was allegedly the guy. Now we’re learning more about who he was and how he played the game. Hi, my name is Rick singer and I’m the founder of the key. Reporter: This was his appeal to parents all centered around a promise. Getting into the right college will set the trajectory for the rest of your son or daughter’s life. Don’t leave it to chance. Reporter: But authorities say that promise was actually a lie. Singer is now accused of preying on those parents’ fears guaranteeing college admittance for their children allegedly receiving $25 million in bribes. Now he stands in the center of the largest college admissions cheating scam of all time. Charged this week with fraud and money laundering among other charges, singer is now a cooperating witness. Years ago he was focused on building his clientele. Video shows him pitching himself as the star of his own reality show centered around the stresses of college admissions. Mom and dad about to a dinner party and hear about every kid going into this school, doing this summer program. Sunday morning my phone rings off the hook. Why? How come we’re not doing this. After all this chaos, the payoff for me is knowing that these kids found the right place to go to school and feel great about themselves. Reporter: While the show never sold, people did buy in to singer’s idea. Court filings suggest singer had been scheming for decades. One father asking, is there any risk that this blows up in my face? Singer responds, hasn’t in 24 years. The Perrys say they consider hiring him to coach their daughter. I was impressed. He knew — like I said I’ve been through it before. He had the volleyball coaches on their phone. Reporter: They eventually decided no the to use his services because of his high fees in part but for more than two decades hundreds of children were helped. Many of them out there now as working adults with degrees and careers quite possibly built on a lie. The university that’s produced the most fortune 500 CEOs is not an ivy league or exclusive private university, it’s the university of Wisconsin, go, badgers. They current 14 of the current CEOs and have a nearly 60% acceptance rate compared to Harvard which has 6%. You said it, go, badgers. Let’s bring in Dan Abrams and Susan Shifflett. Thanks for joining us. Let’s go down the list of some of the things alleged. People said they were minority students. They weren’t. They said they had disabilities. They didn’t. They said they played sports that they never actually played. How is this possible? Do admissions offices check these things? Sure. So, I think what’s most surprising in this situation is really the scandal around the athletics because as an admission officer when I was at Yale we would get a list from the coaches, from the athletics department saying, hey, these are our top recruits. That admission officer takes it as face value. If you’re ring, I don’t know if you need a rower. I would never think someone at the top of the list has never touched a soccer ball. There was no way for you at Yale at the time if you were there would have known it was fake. That’s right. Some will take with a grain of salt and go online and check but we assume the coach is the filter so that’s very disturbing. One thing we’re hearing a lot, the group of the people we’re hearing from are students of color. Affirmative action and a lot feel they’ve had to defend earning a spot when, in fact, we’re seeing it’s the wealthy kids who maybe got in unjustly. What would you say to some of those students? I think it’s very unfortunate, absolutely. And I think there has been increasingly more discussion around affirmative action and issues of race but I think this is sort of to a new level where it’s an outright scam. It is unfortunate that somebody took a spot of another very qualified student. So do you think we’ll see, Dan, possibly some of those students who think they were denied — we’ve seen that in affirmative action case, students who thought they were denied places starting class action suits. How about in this case. I expect there will be some form of lawsuits here against both the universities, possibly the people involved. The typical plaintiffs would be those waitlisted saying, look, that would have been my spot. I could have gotten in. The problem is going to be damages, right, because you’re going to look at them and say what are they doing now, they went to another school or they’re doing pretty well in life and so you say, so what did they actually suffer? This goes back to the Wisconsin badgers thing, people do really well. Even if they don’t go to this particular school or that particular school and so from a legal perspective the damages then become an issue. Maybe what you could see similar to what you’ve seen in affirmative action cases suing for changes in the way admission are done. Absolutely but when you talk about changes you have to say what changes and Susan could talk about it better than me, changes that would prevent this. It seems to me the only one I can think of is following when it comes to the athletics is making sure that people who were admitted based on athletic ability are actually followed during their career. And holding them responsible. That’s right. So it seems to me that’s the kind of change that could be effectuated but suing over that, I don’t know that’s going to be the course. This has sent a huge message to colleges and universities and parents, I can tell you I’m sure there are a lot of wealthy parents who think twice about how they’re getting their kids into college. I hope so. Do you think it will change the way colleges do their admissions. In admissions offices all over the country, it’s been a real day of reckoning and they’re having to rethink the process or even the quality control. So I think it’s something that we’ll just have to see but a lot of internal discussions being had. A lot of soul searching. Thanks, guys. Thank you so much.
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