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Cal “launche[s] an investigation” into the scandal of Sidoo’s admission

Full steam ahead for Sidoogate

Longchamp Races Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

We have a quick update on the scandal surrounding Jordan Sidoo and his allegedly fraudulent admission to the University of California, Berkeley courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

The best part of the news is that “UC Berkeley has launched an investigation” to fully vet out the circumstances surrounding Sidoo’s admission.

“We are aware of the indictment and are looking into the allegation,” the campus said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Integrity in our admissions process is critically important. Students who do not adhere to that value may have their admissions offer revoked, enrolled students may be dismissed, and diplomas conferred may be revoked.”

The article also sheds some light on the process that David Sidoo—patriarch of the Sidoo scandal—allegedly initiated for both of his sons.

[David] Sidoo followed a similar process for his younger son, Jordan, in 2013, prosecutors allege. He is accused of paying for a flight from Florida and having a surrogate use a fake ID to take the SAT at a high school in Orange County, fraudulently earning Jordan a 2,280. He paid $5,000 for travel expenses for the surrogate test-taker, according to the indictment.

Jordan’s scores were sent to Yale, Georgetown and UC Berkeley, where he later enrolled.

Again, I place no blame on Cal—or any of the universities—for being duped with erroneous SAT scores. The key question is which schools were aware of the falsified scores or which coaches took payments to accept underqualified students as athletes. So far, Cal has released the following information about Sidoo’s involvement with the team.

UC Berkeley athletics spokesman Herb Benenson said Jordan Sidoo was an active member of the rowing team for the 2014-15 academic year. Benenson said that because of federal and state privacy laws, he could not disclose whether Jordan competed in any races or participated in training.

The younger Sidoo served as coxswain, a position at the back of the boat, on his high school’s rowing team, according to a 2014 article in the Province, a newspaper in British Columbia.

The article describes how rowing was his path back into playing sports after working through surgeries and braces for his clubbed feet and breaking his arm in a basketball game in ninth grade.

Contrast that with the fraudulent admission of Lauren Isackson to the UC Los Angeles soccer team, where the allegations of corruption in her acceptance onto the team and the contrast between her and her absurdly accomplished teammates are much more marked—the kind of scandal that could lead to a ruined nation.

On the other hand, the San Francisco Chronicle makes it clear that Cal is unlike the other schools involved in the scandal—”there are no allegations a bribe was paid to any UC Berkeley coaches.”

There are no allegations in the indictment that Sidoo, who said he competed for the team as a coxswain, falsified his rowing credentials or that the team took a bribe to fraudulently recruit him, as with other cases in the nationwide scandal.

We’ll keep you updated with the story as it progresses.