Vandemoer provides his side of the story

Published on September 28th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
When the college admissions scandal hit the headlines in March 2019, and the Stanford sailing program was implicated in the plot, I desperately wanted this not to be a Scuttlebutt story. However, when every major news outlet led with the involvement of sailing coach John Vandemoer, it became unavoidable.

This massive bribery scheme to get students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes hit a public nerve as a step too far. While it is easy to judge when you don’t have the wealth to do the same, the irony is how the culture of parenting has been tilting the scale for some time.

Doing more is what parents now do to give their children an advantage. While some parents are strategic about it, others get swept up in this shifting landscape, but either way kids are entering the world more coddled than ever.

So perhaps it was a relief to see light shined on the madness, but for Vandemoer, his position as the first person to be sentenced in the sweeping corruption scandal kept him in the narrative far longer than he deserved. His fall was hard, but he remained largely silent through it all… until now.

Vandemoer has released his account in a book titled, Rigged Justice: How the College Admissions Scandal Ruined an Innocent Man’s Life.

Available on Amazon, the description states how “he was drawn unwittingly into a web of deceit in this eye-opening memoir that offers a damning portrait of modern college administration and the ways in which justice and fairness do not always intersect.”

A report in the New York Times offers more light to Vandemoer’s plight. Here’s an excerpt:

The admissions plot generated a degree of rage and scorn that did not allow for nuance such as this: Vandemoer, unlike the others accused in the plot, did not personally gain in the transactions. He handed checks totaling $770,000 from Singer to Stanford development officers, who planned to use the money for new boats. No students entered Stanford because of Vandemoer, although he did designate two as athletic recruits without evaluating them.

“I’m lumped in with everybody else,” Vandemoer said. “Right now, I’m on Google being painted with the same brush as coaches who bought houses, took vacations, and paid tuition with the money. I turned the money over to my employer, who is somehow a victim in this. It’s been devastating.”

For details on the book, click here.

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