The college admissions cheating allegations announced on Tuesday hit the sport of water polo with longtime USC head coach Jovan Vavic, a 15-time national coach of the year, being fired for his alleged involvement.
“We are aware of the ongoing wide-ranging criminal investigation involving universities nationwide, including USC,” the school said in a statement. “USC has not been accused of any wrongdoing and will continue to cooperate fully with the government’s investigation.
“We understand that the government believes that illegal activity was carried out by individuals who went to great lengths to conceal their actions from the university. USC is conducting an internal investigation. Donna Heinel and Jovan Vavic have been terminated and the university will take additional employment actions as appropriate.”
The women’s water polo roster has been updated online to show Casey Moon as interim head coach. The men’s water polo roster now lists Marko Pintaric as interim head coach. Moon is in his 12th season on the USC staff, acting as women’s associate head coach and men’s director of player personnel. Pintaric is in his 18th season with the Trojans and third as co-head coach.
Vavic was reportedly arrested this morning in Waikiki on a charge of racketeering conspiracy.
The USC men won their 10th NCAA Championship in December, besting Stanford 14-12. The Trojans posted a 575-91 in his 24 seasons, including 10 NCAA titles (1998, 2003, 2005, 2008-2013, 2018). The USC women are the defending national champions, having beaten Stanford 5-4 in the 2018 championship match. The Women of Troy boast six national titles in his tenure (1999, 20004, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018) and have posted a 590-147 record.
The #1 Trojans (19-0) are set to play #5 Hawaii in Honolulu on Saturday. The team is currently on a 35-match win streak including wins over #8 UC Irvine (11-5) and #19 San Jose State (22-8) last week.
In a letter from Interim President Wanda M. Austin, USC expanded on its statement.
“The government has made a public announcement and disseminated the charging documents,” Austin stated. “The federal government has alleged that USC is a victim in a scheme perpetrated against the university by a long-time Athletics Department employee, one current coach and three former coaching staff, who were allegedly involved in a college admissions scheme and have been charged by the government on multiple charges.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe that Admissions employees or senior administrators were aware of the scheme or took part in any wrongdoing—and we believe the government concurs in that assessment. The government has repeatedly informed us that it views USC as a victim and that these employees purposefully deceived USC.