Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

Christian Schwindt, Staff Writer

    Operation Varsity Blues is a Netflix documentary based on the 2019 college admission scandal originally released on March 17, 2021. The documentary gives viewers an inside look into the mastermind behind the scandal Rick Singer, along with all the other people involved in this scheme. 

    Early in the documentary, viewers see anxious high school students awaiting the confirmation of their college admissions. This part alone is arguably the most polarizing –and captivating–  scene of the documentary. It creates sympathy and compassion for those students not being accepted into their dream schools and also reaffirms why this scandal is so significant. 

     For a large portion of the documentary, viewers get to see the inner thoughts of Rick Singer, and the people he did business with. In 2011, Singer started a for-profit college counseling company that gave students a “side door” into elite colleges. This “side door” included having students fake the need of extra time on the ACT and SAT and then have a proctor whom Singer hired to correct all the students prior answers to lift their score. Another portion of this scheme was bribing college athletic directors and coaches in the form of donations to the program in exchange for them to recruit his clients as athletes. Singer also photoshopped his clients onto photos of other high school athletes to show some sign that they did in fact play a sport.

    The financials of this whole scheme is absurd. Parents paid anywhere between $200,000 and $6.5 million to guarantee admission into elite schools. Schools included USC, Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown among others. This money came through donations to Singer’s fake charity and he would donate that money to college athletic programs, or wired to coaches directly.

    This documentary runs about 1hr and 40mins, and is definitely worth taking a look into. You do not need any prior knowledge of the scandal to enjoy this documentary and it is recommended to anyone that is interested.