As the college bribery scandal continues to rock the University of Southern California (USC), athletic director Lynn Swann said he isn’t going anywhere, despite calls asking him to step down.
Swann, who became USC’s athletic director three years ago, said he was blindsided by the admissions bribery scandal and first heard about it during an early morning phone call last Friday after the news broke. Several people from his department, including the university’s senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, had been arrested and charged with racketeering and bribery in connection with attempts to get various students into USC and other high profile colleges by way of the athletic program, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“I think everybody was blindsided by this,” Swann told the Times. “The fact that it was a senior member of the staff and also our men’s and women’s head water polo coach. … These are people that have been here a long time and people who had been here during difficult times and had seen bad things done and knew better. Everyone was completely shocked, caught off guard and taken by surprise.”
Calls for Swann to step down are motivated by what some folks see as a lack of control over his department.
“The reason why no one would know that this was happening is because we had one person in charge of submitting the academic records to our admissions department,” Swann explained. “And, that one person was in charge of getting that information back and distributing it to the coaches and letting other people know.”
The scandal first emerged when news broke of actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paying bribes totaling $500,000 to ensure their two daughters got into USC by way of the crew team—despite the fact that neither young lady had ever participated in the sport, according to the 200-page indictment. Actress Felicity Huffman and nearly 50 other people were also a part of the indictment, which includes allegedly bribing insiders at testing centers to help get their children into several elite schools.
USC is currently without a president after C.L. Max stepped down in August 2018. When a new president is named by the Board of Trustees, that individual will decide on Swann’s future with the institution’s athletic department.