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Legislators Have Plan to Combat ‘Varsity Blues’ UC Admissions Fraud Scandal

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In the wake of the “Varsity Blues” admissions scandals and a scathing state auditor report on the University of California process, two assemblymembers are calling for more transparency.

Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) plans to introduce a bill that would requiring “a fair and impartial admission process” and training for admission reviewers.

Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) will introduce a bill to build a “firewall” between admissions staff and a university’s fundraising arm. The bill would also require verification of an athlete’s sporting ability if recruited to play for the school.

Motivated by Auditor Report, Varsity Blues Scandal

“We must create admissions practices that allow every hardworking, deserving California student a fair shot at earning a seat at the table.”Assemblyman Kevin McCarty

A state auditor report — called for by Boerner Horvath —  found that the UC system “inappropriately admitted 64 wealthy and well-connected students as favors to donors, family, and friends and denied more qualified applicants educational opportunities.”

The Varsity Blues scandal saw 55 people charged with bribery and fraud to secure admission to some of the nation’s elite colleges. Some of the fraud included faking credentials of student-athletes to secure admissions.

Actress Lori Loughlin was one of those who was charged and eventually served jail time for actions she took on behalf of her daughter.

Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath

“What this audit revealed was underlying, systemic problems that have created a sometimes capricious admissions process” Boerner Horvath said in a news release. “This isn’t only about the wealthy and well-connected influencing admissions decisions, it’s about students being denied equal opportunity to an education simply because they had a different person review their application than another equally qualified student.  It wouldn’t be acceptable at any institution, let alone our taxpayer-supported public university system.”

McCarty said he’s concerned for those who don’t have top connections.

“We must create admissions practices that allow every hardworking, deserving California student a fair shot at earning a seat at the table,” McCarty said. “By preventing pressure from philanthropic donations and a stricter oversight of athletics, we can provide a fair admissions process for all.”

The language for either bill was not yet available. The legislature returns to session on Jan. 11. The return date was pushed back a week on Friday because of COVID-19 concerns.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email