AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott directed all Texas university boards Monday to investigate admissions policies after 50 people were charged in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that exposed a widespread college admissions bribery and cheating scheme. A tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin was among those indicted in the scheme nationwide.
Abbott directed the universities to “examine and investigate its admissions policies and procedures to ensure that no university employee engages in fraudulent schemes,” officials wrote in a press release Monday.
“First and foremost, our universities exist to serve qualifying Texas students,” Abbott wrote in the letter. “Those students, their parents and taxpayers must have confidence that the system is not rigged.”
FAR-REACHING EFFECTS: Repercussions of college admission scheme could affect your kids
There are 38 public universities in Texas of which 34 belong to one of the six state university systems. The six systems are the University of Texas System, University of North Texas System, University of Houston, Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System and Texas Tech University System. There also four independent public universities.
Former UT Tennis Coach Michael Center was among four Texans who were indicted in connection with the bribery scheme. Investigators say Center took a bribe of $100,000 to get a teen admitted to UT through the athletics track, though he was not an athlete.
At a national level, Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were among 33 parents charged in the scheme along with three scam organizers, two SAT or ACT test administrators, one exam proctor, one college administrator and nine college coaches.
Several students have banded together since the scandal broke to sue the schools implicated in the admissions scam including a student who was rejected from UT. The lawsuit claim any student who paid application fees to one of the named schools and was rejected between 2011 to 2018 should be eligible for punitive damages.
Read Abbott’s full letter.