Sailing coach avoids jail in admission scandal

Coach

The former Stanford University sailing coach has avoided prison for his role in the high-profile college admissions cheating scandal.

A federal judge in Boston sentenced John Vandemoer to one day behind bars. He must pay a $10,000 fine, serve six months home confinement and two years of supervised release. Prosecutors had sought 13 months in prison.

“This case, for me, was about trying to do what I thought was right for the team,” Vandemoer said outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston’s Seaport District after sentencing in June. “I have brought a cloud over Stanford, and for that I am deeply ashamed.”

According to news accounts, Vandemoer took $600,000 from Rick Singer, a man who used illegal methods to help wealthy people get their children into top colleges and universities. One such method involved designating prospective students as accomplished athletes to help them get admitted. In many cases, the students either did not compete in the sport or weren’t particularly good.

Vandemoer’s attorney claims he used all of that money he received to support the sailing program, and that none of the students in the scheme attended the university.

Authorities have charged almost 50 people in the unprecedented bribery and fraud scheme dubbed “Varsity Blues.” Actress Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty in the case, while “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin is fighting the charges. Singer has pleaded guilty.

Parents of a Stanford sailor who competed for Vandemoer described him as an honorable man and successful coach. Stanford has since fired Vandemoer and is investigating the extent of similar activities in its athletic programs.