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.