Operation Varsity Blues: the College Admissions Scandal Heard Around the World

If you’ve been living under a rock, you maybe haven’t heard of the college admissions scandal. For those of us who live above ground, it’s all we’ve heard about for the last week. Operation Varsity Blues, as the FBI has named it, is being compared to this generations Watergate scandal, and it’s all unfolding right now.

About 50 wealthy helicopter parents have been indicted in the scandal and among them two of America’s most famous actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. .

Lori Loughlin, known for her role as Aunt Becky in the American cult favorite Full House, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly spent $500,000 to get their two daughters into the elite University of Southern California. They persuaded the coaches of the USC Crew team to accept the pair as skilled athletic recruits. In email correspondence between Mossimo and the USC Athletic Director, by request from the director, Mossimo falsely presented their daughter as a crew coxswain for the LA Marina Club team, and even sent in an “action photo” with his daughter on a rowing machine.

Listen, I never had to fake pose on a rowing machine for my college admissions process. Isn’t it easier to just study?

Felicity Huffman, star of the iconic show Desperate Housewives, also realized that despite their daughters lack of intelligence, she’s rich! Perfect! Huffman took a different route than Loughlin and Giannulli and instead worked with shady-as-all-get-out Key Worldwide Organization, spending $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT test moved to a different location where it wouldn’t be timed, overseen by a hand-picked proctor, who went over the test with a pencil upon little Huffman finishing her test. The proctor was allegedly paid $40,000, and it worked - Huffman and William H. Macy’s (of Shameless fame) daughter scored a whopping 400 more points than her previous exam taken a year earlier. Wow.

The two celebrity parents and 40 or so others are charged with mail fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years per count. But will we really see Loughlin or Huffman do any jail time? Only time will tell, as they are now out on bond with their passports revoked. But, like the now evident division between the rich and poor in the college admissions process, it makes you wonder what the path is like for the rich in this case. Going to prison for the crime they committed is justice, but it’s not open and shut for the type of people who obviously have cash to drop.

As for the kids, one stands particularly under fire. Olivia Jade Giannulli has a career as a successful Youtuber and content creator, with millions of followers across social platforms. She even has a partnership with Sephora - or had, I should say, since Sephora dropped her after the news broke. One could say Olivia Jade doesn’t even need college, as her life is focused on sponsored content, brand trips and Instagram modeling. She’s even said herself on her YouTube channel that she doesn’t really care about school and that she’s mostly excited about tailgates, parties and the “college experience” rather than actually getting the degree. It kind of seems like just desserts, doesn’t it?

As shocking as this story is, it’s clear it happens all the time. Colleges involved in the scandal include Ivy League colleges like Columbia University, Harvard University and Yale University, as well as many other elite programs. The fact is, rich parents have been doing anything for their children for many years. These are just the ones that got caught.

As you sit at your desk, slaving away on your midterms, remember to be thankful for where you are. Colleges are not a level playing field, where the rich and poor are treated alike. Continue to work hard and better yourself. Your degree is so important, and what you learn in college will further your career and your future. While Olivia Jade, Bella, Huffman-Macy Jr. and many others breezed their way in, you earned your spot. Take pride in knowing your intelligence is what got you to where you are today.