It’s already been two years since the news of the 2019 college admissions scandal made headlines around the world and led to the arrests of dozens of parents, as well as college athletics directors and coaches.
But now Netflix is refreshing our memory with the new documentary film Operation Varsity Blues, which blends interviews with reenactments and stars Matthew Modine as college counselor and scheme mastermind Rick Singer.
With Operation Varsity Blues currently streaming, we’re catching up with the institutions affected by the scandal, as well as the two most famous participants.
What colleges were involved in the college admissions scandal, and how did they respond?
Insider has a full list of people charged in the college admissions scandal and the colleges and universities that employed them. The list includes employees of Georgetown University, University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, and Stanford University.
After Operation Varsity Blues news broke, schools affected by the scam committed to restorative and proactive changes. Yale, for example, vowed to conduct an internal review and to retain external advisors to help ward off admissions fraud. Stanford redistributed the $770,000 that came to the school through the scam to 10 college access programs. And USC implemented “a number of reforms designed to safeguard the integrity of student-athlete admissions and support the outstanding legitimate student-athletes applying to USC.”
What happened to the Hollywood stars involved in the scandal?
Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in May 2019, admitting to paying $15,000 in a scheme to boost her daughter’s SAT scores, according to CNN. She was released from a federal prison in Dublin, Calif., in October 2019 after serving 11 days of her two-week sentence. She was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, with conditions including 250 hours of community service.
In November 2020, Deadline announced that Huffman had resumed her Hollywood career with an untitled ABC single-camera comedy project that would have her star as the owner of a minor-league baseball team.
Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in May 2020, admitting to paying $500,000 to get her two daughters into the University of Southern California, according to CNN. She served two months at the same federal prison in Dublin, Calif., before getting released in December 2020. As part of her sentence, she must serve two years of supervised release, perform 100 hours of community service, and pay a $150,000 fine.
What is 'Operation Varsity Blues'?
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, released on Netflix on Wednesday, March 17, is a documentary film about the scandal and Singer’s role as the scheme’s mastermind.
“Using an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients, Operation Varsity Blues offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic figure behind a scheme that exposed the lengths wealthy families would go to for admission into elite colleges, and angered a nation already grappling with the effects of widespread inequality,” Netflix teases in a press release.
You can watch the documentary on Netflix now.