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Lightfoot Lawyers Publish Two Articles on Recent College Admissions Scandal

March 18, 2019

Several Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC lawyers authored articles in the wake of the recent widespread college admissions bribery scandal and revelations from the FBI’s “Operation Varsity Blues.” Last week, federal prosecutors charged 50 people who were allegedly part of the scheme to influence admissions decisions.

Lightfoot partners Tenley Armstrong and Henry Gimenez were published in University Business yesterday. Their article, titled “After ‘Operation Varsity Blues,’ universities must reevaluate compliance,” examines how higher education institutions can prevent similar conduct on their campuses.

“This scandal is a wake-up call for all institutions to refine and perfect their compliance and internal review processes,” wrote Armstrong and Gimenez. “Regardless of involvement in Operation Varsity Blues, all colleges and universities are now on notice regarding these admissions schemes and must heed the warnings forecast by the indictment and complaint.”

Meanwhile, Lightfoot partner Brandon Essig and associate Brian Kappel authored an article for Law360 titled “Compliance Homework For Schools After ‘Varsity Blues’” (subscription required, but view PDF here). The lawyers discuss the implications of the scandal and the possibility of aggressive regulation on the horizon for colleges and universities, similar to what their corporate counterparts went through in the late 1970s.

“All of higher education in America — an industry with hundreds of billions of dollars of economic impact annually — is on notice that it has or could potentially have a bribery problem,” wrote Essig and Kappel. “It is our view that colleges and universities should meet this new challenge by making sure that their institutional risk management operations implement the best practices from the world of corporate compliance.”

Armstrong, Essig, Gimenez and Kappel are all members of Lightfoot’s NCAA Compliance & Investigations practice group.

That group represents institutions, athletic administrators and prominent coaches in NCAA compliance interviews and investigations, as well as in hearings before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and the Infractions Appeals Committee. The team also experience conducting internal investigations of campus issues involving Title IX, sexual misconduct and other student welfare matters.

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