USC President Wanda Austin addressed her university's involvement in a nationwide college admissions cheating, bribery and recruitment scheme.
In a letter shared on Tuesday after court documents implicated four current and former USC athletics staff members among the 50 people charged in the FBI's investigation into the scandal, Austin addressed USC as "a victim."
"The federal government has alleged that USC is a victim in a scheme perpetrated against the university by a long-time Athletics Department employee, one current coach and three former coaching staff, who were allegedly involved in a college admissions scheme and have been charged by the government on multiple charges," Austin said. "At this time, we have no reason to believe that Admissions employees or senior administrators were aware of the scheme or took part in any wrongdoing—and we believe the government concurs in that assessment."
She continued: "The government has repeatedly informed us that it views USC as a victim and that these employees purposefully deceived USC."
The Trojans former women's soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin, former women's soccer assistant coach Laura Janke and current USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Dr. Donna Heinel and water polo head coach Jovan Vavic were among the individuals charged in the FBI's ongoing investigation into the scandal, which allegedly worked to help potential students cheat on college entrance exams by bribing SAT or ACT administrators or by bribing college athletic coaches to facilitate non-recruits admittance to elite universities as recruits regardless of their actual athletic abilities or histories. Heinel and Vavic were later fired as a result of their arrest.
According to the indictment, a USC employee Homayoun H. Zadeh was also involved, but was not a member of the athletic department's staff. Zadeh allegedly "conspired to bribe Heinel to designate his daughter as a lacrosse recruit—despite the fact that she did not play lacrosse competitively—thereby facilitating her admission to USC." Zadeh was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Austin added that the university has planned "significant remedial efforts," and will take appropriate employment actions in regards to the implicated individuals as well as review admissions decisions and funds received in connection with the allegations.
She added: "It is immensely disappointing that individuals would abuse their position at the university in this way."
Several other collegiate coaches and athletics staff members were charged in the indictment released Tuesday morning.