The Obama family tennis coach, who has also coached at multiple universities, allegedly pocketed $2.7 million as part of America’s largest college admissions scam.
According to a report from the New York Post, University of Rhode Island tennis coach Gordon Ernst has found himself at the center of a massive college admissions scandal. According to court documents, Ernst allegedly accepted $2.7 million as part of a larger fraud to shuffle unqualified students into Georgetown University, where he worked until 2018.
Ernst, who served as the personal tennis coach for the Obama family, allegedly helped 12 students gain admission to Georgetown University. The scam involved designating the students as star athletes so that they could be admitted to the university with lower grades and test scores. However, many of the students that Ernst brought into the university as tennis players had never played the game at all.
The scam was allegedly perpetrated by William “Rick” Singer, who has pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. In some instances, Singer allegedly deployed a 36-year-old man named Mark Riddell who would take exams for students. The entire scam is worth an estimated $25 million.
Georgetown released a statement on Tuesday that addressed Ernst’s conduct during his time at the university. “Georgetown University is deeply disappointed to learn that former Tennis Coach Gordon Ernst is alleged to have committed criminal acts against the University that constitute an unprecedented breach of trust,” the university wrote in a statement. Ernst hasn’t been a coach at Georgetown since December 2017, the university says when Georgetown conducted an internal investigation and found that he had “violated University rules concerning admissions.”
The University of Rhode Island placed Ernst on leave on Tuesday.