Four individuals in USC's athletics department were implicated earlier this week in a nationwide college admissions cheating, bribery and recruitment scheme, including a senior associate athletic director. The Trojans AD Lynn Swann said Friday that he, along with most of his department, were blindsided by the alleged actions of his employees.
"I think everybody was blindsided by this," Swann told The Los Angeles Times. "The fact that it was a senior member of the staff and also our men’s and women’s head water polo coach. … These are people that have been here a long time and people who had been here during difficult times and had seen bad things done and knew better. Everyone was completely shocked, caught off guard and taken by surprise.”
Swann, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Trojans receiver, took over as USC’s athletic director a little under three years ago. The 67-year-old athletic director has come under fire for not being aware of what was taking place within his department.
The Trojans women's soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin, women's soccer assistant coach Laura Janke and USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Dr. Donna Heinel and water polo head coach Jovan Vavic were among the individuals charged in the FBI's 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 indictments.
While other schools such as UCLA, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown were also implicated in the scandal, USC was the only athletic department that had a senior administrator allegedly involved in the scheme. Swann said that in the future one person will not have as much responsibility as senior administrators like Heinel had.
"We will work with the university to implement the best system," Swann said. "We will work with the administration, admissions, sports administrators, recruiters and scouts so there are more eyeballs on this. Moving forward when a list of names is being put forward, the coach sees it, the recruiter sees it, the administrator sees it and others see it so we know these are real student-athletes that we're trying to get.
Swann added that he will not resign in the face of the scandal.
In a letter shared on Tuesday after the indictments, USC President Wanda Austin addressed her university as "a victim" in the scheme.
Austin added that the university has planned "significant remedial efforts," to come following the Trojans' internal investigation. She also said that USC would review admissions decisions and funds received in connection with the allegations.