The Ivy Coach Daily

July 22, 2018

UPenn Basketball Coach

Penn Coach, Penn Basketball, UPenn Basketball Coach
There’s a scandal brewing in Penn’s athletics department (photo credit: Bryan Y.W. Shin).

Did the former head coach of the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team — who is now an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics of the NBA — accept bribes in order to help a Florida businessman’s son earn admission to the Ivy League university? As our regular readers know well, being an athletic recruit carries major weight in the admissions offices of highly selective colleges, like the University of Pennsylvania. But not all sports are created equal. Your intuition is right — a squash coach absolutely doesn’t have nearly the same clout in admissions as does a basketball or football coach. So you bet a head basketball coach flagging an applicant as a basketball recruit can totally positively influence that student’s case for admission.

Former UPenn Basketball Coach Allegedly Accepted Bribes

As reports “ESPN” in a piece entitled “Federal authorities say Ivy League coach bribed by Florida man,” “Federal authorities say a Florida businessman already charged with orchestrating a massive Medicare fraud scheme bribed a former university basketball coach to help get his son admitted to an Ivy League university. Prosecutors allege the payments were intended to help the son of nursing home owner Philip Esformes, who is accused of filing false Medicare and Medicaid claims…The indictment released Friday did not name the university or coach. But Srebnick said prosecutors disclosed in court that Boston Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen received the payments while he was the head coach at Pennsylvania. Allen has not been charged. The Penn athletics department also acknowledged the allegations in a statement released Monday, with the school saying it was taking the claims seriously. The Celtics have declined to comment. According to the indictment, Esformes paid $53,000 in bribes to the coach to have his son identified as a ’recruit[ed] basketball player’ to help his admission. The son never played for the basketball team.”

If these allegations are true, this is big news in the world of Ivy League admissions. We’ve never heard of a college coach of a big-time sport (or even a small-time sport) giving up one of his or her recruiting slots in exchange for payment(s). Look for the University of Pennsylvania to take these claims very seriously and if these claims do prove true, we would not be surprised to see charges filed against the current Celtics assistant. The University of Pennsylvania — while it is a private institution — receives public funds. A coach can’t accept money in exchange for flagging a student as an athletic recruit. It would not only be unethical. It would, at least in our view, be unlawful. Let’s see how this story develops. Do stay tuned.

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