Gordon Ernst has been placed on administrative leave following the recent admissions scandals that have hit the nation. Photo courtesy of GoRhody.

University of Rhode Island’s women’s tennis coach, Gordon Ernst, was indicted this past week in a national college admission scandal for accepting over $2.7 million of bribes.

Ernst allegedly took the bribes as payment for staging the recruitment of students for the Georgetown University men’s and women’s tennis teams during his time there.

Ernst has not been part of the recruitment of students since he was appointed the URI women’s tennis coach in August 2018, though he has been put on administrative leave at this time.

URI released a statement on March 15 that said the University was unaware of Ernst’s part in the admission scandals when he was hired last August.

“Prior to hiring Gordon Ernst in August 2018, the University conducted a criminal background check, which we do for all prospective employees,” the URI statement said. “That background check showed no criminal history. The University also reached out to his references and was able to reach three out of the four references he provided. The three gave him strong and positive recommendations. In addition, the URI athletic director personally called Georgetown’s athletic director in July 2018 and received a positive reference check from him. There were absolutely no indications whatsoever of any personnel concerns, violations of admissions policies or any other issues related to coach Ernst.”

According to the Providence Journal, while at Georgetown, Ernst “recruited” 12 students as part of the tennis team who never played for the team. This was done so Georgetown would look favorably on those students applications.

An arrest warrant was issued for Ernst last Tuesday, while he was at his Maryland home. He appeared in court in Maryland the same day, and was released on $200,000 bond.

Georgetown also released a statement that said they were not aware of Ernst’s part in the scandal.

“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 Georgetown statement said. “Ernst has not coached our tennis team since December 2017, following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions. Georgetown cooperated fully with the government’s investigation. We are reviewing the details of the indictment and will take appropriate action.”

About 50 people were involved with the scandal, which was orchestrated by William Rick Singer, the CEO of a college admissions prep service, called The Key. Thirty-three parents have been indicted for paying Singer up to $75,000 to either raise or change their child’s test scores in an effort to have them admitted to elite universities such as University of South Carolina, Georgetown, Stanford and Yale.

Also included in the scandal were actresses Lori Loughlin, otherwise known as Aunt Becky from “Full House,” and Felicity Huffman from “Desperate Housewives.”

Loughlin has since turned herself in to the authorities, and has been indicted for paying over $500,000 for her two daughters to be admitted to USC, as “recruits” for the crew team.

Update: According to GoRhody.com, as of 3:47 p.m. on Friday, March 22 Ernst resigned from his position as the women’s tennis coach at URI.

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Theresa Brown
I believe that journalism is one of the most important fields in the world. It is incredible to have the responsibility of informing the public, and while I didn't know I wanted to pursue this interest at first I am so incredibly excited to take on this role. News, whether it be big or small impacts so many and I think that giving the students of URI a look into everything that is going on around them is extremely necessary to the overall functionality of the University. On another more personal note, I'm doing this because I have a passion for writing and because I care so much about the reporters and editors involved with the paper already and can't wait to work with them and lead them going forward.