Ex-Stanford sailing coach sentenced to one day in prison for role in college admissions scandal

Former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer pled guilty to a charge of racketeering conspiracy. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer pled guilty to a charge of racketeering conspiracy. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

John Vandemoer became the first person sentenced in the widespread college admissions scandal that allegedly involved famous actresses and various college coaches and athletic department employees.

The former Stanford sailing coach was sentenced Wednesday to a day in prison for his role in the scandal. Vandemoer, fired by Stanford in March after he was named as part of it, previously pleaded guilty to a count of racketeering conspiracy for accepting over $700,000 in bribes as parents were able to falsely portray their children as athletes to get them into Stanford.

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Vandemoer won’t have to serve that day in prison, either. Judge Rya W. Zobe dismissed the day because of previous time served.

Actress Lori Laughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have pleaded not guilty to charges they paid bribes to get their daughters into USC. Actress Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty for a $15,000 bribe and will be sentenced in September.

Prosecutors wanted over a year of prison time

The light sentence for Vandemoer comes after federal prosecutors contended he should spend up to 13 months in prison for his actions.

"I want to be seen as someone who takes responsibility for mistakes," he said in court via NBC News. "I want to tell you how I intend to live from this point forward. I will never again lose sight of my values."

Stanford said in a letter earlier in the week that Vandemoer’s conduct had undermined public confidence in its admissions process.

Vandemoer accepted three bribes from 2016-2018 from clients of Rick Singer’s college prep company. In many instances, the company created fake athlete profiles for children who weren’t athletes or good enough to be Division I athletes so they could have a better chance at being admitted to the school of their choice.

The third bribe came after Singer had become a cooperating witness for federal prosecutors and his communications with Vandemoer had been wiretapped.

Former USC associate AD Donna Heinel was fired in March after she was named in the scandal. She has pleaded not guilty. Former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith will be sentenced June 20 after pleading guilty to mail and wire fraud charges.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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