Former USC Water Polo Coach Jovan Vavic Prepares For Trial

Former USC head water polo coach Jovan Vavic was one of 5 defendants in the “Varsity Blues” scandal whose dismissal request was denied in early July, as the judge ordered them to prepare for trial.

As of right now, Vavic and the other 4 defendants in this group do not have a set trial date, but they submitted their proposed jury instructions on July 29th. Vavic also has an interim status conference scheduled for November 11th.

Vavic, who was the head coach of both the USC men’s and women’s team, was charged on March 12th alongside the former USC assistant athletic director Donna Heinel. Vavic and Heinel were officially fired by USC in March for allegedly participating in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions and testing bribery scandal that helped students cheat entrance exams and the admissions process. You can read our detailed story covering the scandal here.

Vavic, specifically, is accused of accepting $250,000 in bribes from scandal organizer William Rick Singer along with payment for private school tuition for his children, 3 of whom have played water polo for the Trojans. In exchange, Vavic allegedly arranged the acceptance of two USC applicants as water polo recruits who did not actually play water polo.

Vavic’s full list of charges include:

  • Conspiracy to commit racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud
  • Conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery
  • Wire fraud and honest services wire fraud – aiding and abetting

At a federal court hearing in Boston in March 2019, Vavic’s attorney, Koran Bell, maintained that Vavic had no relationship or knowledge of the other defendants’ actions in the scandal. 

During his time at USC, the Vavic was named the NCAA National Coach of the Year 15 times in men’s and women’s water polo, and in 2015 was named the Pac-12’s “Coach of the Century” in men’s water polo. In total, his teams won a combined 16 NCAA titles while he was head coach at USC.

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Mark Weiss
2 years ago

By going to trial a defendant is taking a big risk as a guilty verdict typically leads to a much longer sentence than what would be imposed upon a guilty plea. The evidence against Mr Vavic seems overwhelming and there are a number of people involved who will be testifying against Mr Vavic at trial. I believe that all of his resources will be drained by the lawyers and he will face financial ruin upon his release from prison. Employment is tough as a convicted felon.

2 years ago

There’s no doubt that Coach Vavic exercised unbelievably poor judgement when he awarded athletic scholarships to non-athletes in exchange for money. He possibly helped those students (and perhaps others) gain admission to prestigious colleges/universities, when they otherwise might not have been admitted due to having less than exceptional academic profiles (GPAs, SAT scores, class rigor, etc). The bottom line here is the fact that a coach can and does frequently play a major role in the Admissions process.

If coach takes a bribe to help get a student or an athlete into their college/university, that’s an egregious violation of trust. If caught, the consequences will most likely make the financial gains pale in comparison. that coaches reputation is tarnished forever;… Read more »

2 years ago

I only know of him due to the scandal. I do not follow waterpolo like most people. I bet many did not even know that the school had a waterpolo team before this scandal.

Pat Campbell-Cozzi
Reply to  2Far4Speed
2 years ago

I find it interesting that Vavic states he did not know. I wonder hos he did not know.

2 years ago

Sad story for sure – Best wishes to Coach Vavic. Wow Coach of the Century in Men’s Polo!

Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
2 years ago

troll harder

Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
2 years ago

Dear “Lady” – I hope Vacic pays for his crimes with a long jail time. By the way, your screen name is misleading – remove Lady, as women are not this stupid. You are a male and you are lame. Wow, I just realized male is an anagram for lame.

GA Boy
2 years ago

Put him behind barsssss!!!!!😤😤😤

Math Magician
Reply to  GA Boy
2 years ago

He should certainly get no sentencing longer than the wealthy, privileged individuals that paid Singer the dollars to make this happen. Five weeks to five months should suffice if in line with others. It’s a travesty how the wealthy seem to escape accountability for lies and crimes in this ongoing admissions scandal.

2 years ago

probably both

2 years ago

Presumption of innocence,…

Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

How do people remember Joe Paterno?

Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

as a pervert, which has nothing to do with this case

About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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