As the Grandma of a Scholar Athlete, the Stolen Scholarship Scandal Hits Home

“For every student admitted through fraud an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.”

Just the other day I traveled to Sacramento with fellow Comadres to work and develop goals for our awesome team. It was not lost on me that we were just miles away from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). I mention that because soon I will be spending my football seasons traveling back and forth in support of my eldest grandchild, Orlando, as he embarks on his college journey with a full ride scholarship to play football for the university. I am super proud of his achievements both academically and as an athlete. He is a lettered varsity football player and a lettered member of the track team. He also carries a 3.8 GPA and has taken and passed several AP courses in preparation for college. He has worked very hard and has been disciplined in his field and his studies throughout his high school career.  

During Orlando’s junior year, when recruiters started coming around, we were thrilled at the possibility that his dream of pursuing a higher education (Pre-Med) and playing football could become a reality, and it has. Let me just say that there has been a lot of sacrifices, by all in support of Orlando’s dream. His parents, my son, and daughter-in-law, are certainly capable of coming up with tuition for a CSU or UC, though it would be hard as I suspect that it is for every middle-income family in America. Still, it would be doable. He would go to a four-year college somehow. All of that said, he was recruited and accepted, and we are thrilled for him.  

That’s why the news this morning that certain celebrities and major CEOs have been charged and indicted for a scam to get their children into colleges using these precious scholarships that little boys and girls dream of getting and work hard at their craft to attain hit me especially hard.

For example, in the case of Lori Loughlin, the actress who portrays Aunt Becky in the series “Full House”, $500,000 was paid to ensure that her two daughters were accepted into the University of Southern California on a crew scholarship (a sport they have never participated in). In fact, in the complaint, they speak of several instances where students faces were photoshopped into sports photos! As in the sad case of Aunt Becky from Full House, Lori and her husband paid half a million dollars to ensure entrance to USC through a crew scholarship, which included fake pics of the girls in a rower.

University athletic coaches and administrators were also allegedly bribed “to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits — regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport they were purportedly recruited to play.”

In some cases, photos of the students playing sports were staged, and some even had their heads photoshopped onto the bodies of real athletes.

 As a grandmother to a student-athlete that actually worked very hard and earned his scholarship, I am livid that these privileged and elitist people tainted the scholarship system in this way. I’m disturbed that coaches took bribes and went along with this, and truly saddened that the spots that went to these spoiled, rich kids probably killed the dream of those truly deserving kids that worked hard to try to earn a spot.

For Orlando, the last 10 years(since he was 8), every summer through fall, from July to December, every day after school and every Saturday was committed to the football field, all while maintaining good grades in the classroom and cultivating a character that we are extremely proud of. Orlando’s hard work, along with our guidance, was taken in the pursuit of a possibility – the dream of an education at an excellent university. The hard work that Orlando and other scholar athletes put in is more appreciated today as we see the indictment of parents whose children had to cheat the system to be accepted.  

Cheers to all the scholar athletes that have the grit and iron will to persevere and make their dreams come true on their own merit and not the money of Mommy and Daddy!  

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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