USC Reportedly Fires 3 Athletic Department Officials After Admissions Scandal

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 14, 2020

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 13:  The USC cheerleaders wave flags before the game between the Boston College Eagles and the USC Trojans on September 13, 2014 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

USC has fired Athletic Department COO/CFO Steve Lopes, senior associate athletic director Ron Orr and associate athletic director Scott Jacobson as part of the fallout following the "Varsity Blues" college admission scandal, per Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times. 

Lopes was considered "second in command" to the USC AD, per Kartje.

Orr led the Trojan Athletic Fund, whose stated purpose is to provide the funding necessary to sustain the excellence of USC athletics' varsity sports.

Jacobson worked in "development and fundraising."

The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts summarized the scandal as follows in the opening paragraph of a March 12, 2019 press release:

"Dozens of individuals involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states this morning and charged in federal court in Boston. Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated, as well as parents and exam administrators."

TMZ Sports expounded on the USC athletic department's involvement in particular regarding Mossimo Giannulli, the husband of actress Lori Loughlin and the father of prospective college students Olivia Jade and Isabella.

"Mossimo wrote a check for $50K, payable directly to USC. Sources connected to the case told us the check was sent to another athletics director, Donna Heinel, who USC already fired. We're told the check was sent at the direction of the scandal ringleader, Rick Singer.

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"You'll recall, Singer requested photos of Loughlin and Giannulli's daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, on rowing machines. Prosecutors believe the intent was to make it seem they were avid rowers, eligible for admission as USC Crew team members."

Heinel was one of four USC athletic department members charged in an indictment with racketeering conspiracy, with the other three being ex-coaches.

Neil J. Leitereg of the Los Angeles Times discussed her alleged involvement in the scandal on Apr. 15, 2019.

"Heinel was fired after being accused by prosecutors of receiving bribes totaling more than $1.3 million to help parents take advantage of relaxed admissions standards for athletes at USC even though their children were not legitimate student-athletes," he wrote.

The firings continue a sea of change within the USC athletic department. At the top, Mike Bohn was hired to replace Lynn Swann, who resigned in Sept. 2019.

Bohn was Cincinnati's AD from 2014 to 2019 before his arrival in Los Angeles.