Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

USD Reveals Former Men’s Basketball Coach Implicated In Admissions Scandal

San Diego head coach Lamont Smith looks on during the first half of an NCAA c...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: San Diego head coach Lamont Smith looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018

The University of San Diego confirmed Wednesday that former head men's basketball coach Lamont Smith and two others connected to the school were implicated in what authorities have described as the largest-ever college admissions cheating scandal.

USD released the information after the U.S. Department of Justice modified its gag order on the school. The university did not release the names of the two other people involved in the scandal, but said one is a current student and the other a prospective student who was denied admission.

Smith left the university under fire in March 2018 after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. The case was subsequently dropped, and Smith left USD to join the University of Texas-El Paso men's basketball team as an assistant coach.

USD did not disclose the extent to which Smith was allegedly involved in the scandal, which came to light March 12 with the filing of a 50-defendant federal indictment unsealed in Boston, pointing inquiries to the Department of Justice.

RELATED: USC Suspends Accounts Of Students Allegedly Linked To Admissions Bribery Scandal

"We continue to have no reason to believe that any other employees, students or applicants were involved in or aware of any wrongdoing," the university said in a statement. "Certainly, if different or new information comes to our attention, either through the results of the investigation or otherwise, we will take appropriate action to respond."

University officials added that students who falsify or misrepresent themselves on an application can face sanctions of various levels, "up to and including expulsion."

But USD did not disclose what will happen to the current student implicated in the scandal, which has ensnared numerous wealthy and powerful residents of California and a half-dozen other states, including two Hollywood actresses, a fashion designer, a best-selling self-help author and the former CEO of a global investment firm.

The scheme, which began in 2011, centered on a Newport Beach college placement firm run by William "Rick" Singer, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges. The Justice Department investigation revealed a network of wealthy parents who funneled millions of dollars to Singer, who promised them that he could get their children into elite colleges and universities, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, by bribing test proctors and athletic coaches and fudging test scores.

The initial investigation report included charges against dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Reports have suggested that the investigation remains in progress and federal investigators aim to expand it to further snuff out those attempting to game the college admissions system.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.