Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Christine Ladwig (Faculty); Alexis Degler (Undergraduate)

Operation "Varsity Blues": Preventing Future College Admissions Scandals

In March of 2019, it was reported that celebrity Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were involved in what became known as the “college admissions scandal.” Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Giannulli--the daughters of Lori and Mossimo--were “fake” athletic recruits for the University of Southern California’s (USC) rowing team. Being a “recruit” for the team allowed the girls to get into USC easily. Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to William “Rick” Singer, who was a mastermind of college admission scandals, to get the titles of “athletic recruits” applied to their daughters’ names; however neither young woman had any background in rowing. This case examines the illegal and unethical acts associated with the scandal, and what changes will be necessary for the public to trust the college admission process in future.