Georgetown University said Wednesday it intends to expel two students linked to an admissions scandal involving the school’s former tennis coach, who is accused of taking bribes in exchange for falsely designating applicants as athletic recruits.
The Jesuit university in Washington, citing privacy rules, did not identify the students who face imminent dismissal. When the discipline takes effect, Georgetown will join other prominent schools that have kicked out students associated with the disgraced admission consultant William “Rick” Singer and a federal investigation into his alleged bribery and cheating schemes.
"Applicants to Georgetown affirm that the information and statements contained in their applications are true, correct and complete,” the university said in a statement Wednesday. “Knowingly misrepresenting or falsifying credentials in an application can be cause for rescinding the admission of the student and dismissal from Georgetown.
“Today, we informed two students of our intent to rescind their admission and dismiss them from Georgetown. Each student case was addressed individually and each student was given multiple opportunities to respond and provide information to the University.”
Separately, a Georgetown student named Adam Semprevivo filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in the District of Columbia seeking to block the university from imposing sanctions against him, including potential expulsion. His father, Los Angeles business executive Stephen Semprevivo, pleaded guilty May 7 to fraud conspiracy. Federal prosecutors accused Stephen Semprevivo of paying $400,000 to help his son secure admission to Georgetown as a purported tennis recruit.
Adam Semprevivo, who just finished his junior year, said in his lawsuit that he was unaware of the steps his father took in 2015 and 2016, working with Singer, that gave rise to questions about the credentials on his application. The lawsuit describes Semprevivo as a student in good standing who had an SAT score of 1980 (out of a maximum at the time of 2400) and a weighted grade-point average above 4.0 as a high school student. Singer had no influence on those academic achievements, Semprevivo said. At Georgetown, according to the suit, Semprevivo has compiled a 3.18 GPA.
“Georgetown has failed to conduct disciplinary proceedings in this case that comply with any notions of fundamental fairness,” Semprevivo’s suit states.
A Georgetown spokeswoman said the university does not comment on pending litigation.
A person who answered a phone number listed for the Semprevivo family in California hung up when asked for comment. Attorneys for Stephen and Adam Semprevivo declined to comment.
The university’s actions came two months after the U.S. attorney in Boston announced criminal charges against 50 people across the country accused of participating in a conspiracy to undermine the admissions process at major universities. One of those facing charges is former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst.
Thirty-three parents were charged, along with 17 others who authorities say orchestrated or facilitated a two-part scam. One part involved cheating on admission tests; the other, fabricating athletic credentials to present applicants as recruited athletes even though they lacked the ability to compete at the intercollegiate level.
Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges and is cooperating with investigators.
No students have been charged. But Georgetown and other affected universities have been scouring their records to determine whether to revoke admissions of students or take action against graduates connected to Singer.
In March, Yale University rescinded the admission of a student who received a fraudulent endorsement from a former soccer coach, Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, who has pleaded guilty to fraud and fraud conspiracy. In April, Stanford University rescinded the admission of a student whose application included false information; news reports subsequently said that student’s mother had paid Singer $6.5 million. The University of Southern California has said it is reviewing students who may be associated with Singer’s scheme.
Georgetown officials have focused on students connected to the activities of their former tennis coach.
Ernst is accused in federal court documents of accepting more than $2.7 million in bribes over several years in exchange for designating at least 12 applicants as tennis recruits, even though some of those he recommended did not play the sport competitively and did not play for the team after enrolling. Ernst, who coached at Georgetown from 2006 to 2018, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and is due to appear in federal court in Boston in June. He has declined requests for comment.
Court documents allege the parents of a handful of current and former Georgetown students participated in Singer’s scam.
Federal investigators have accused Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez, a married couple from Atherton, Calif., of conspiring to bribe Ernst to facilitate the admission of their older daughter as a tennis recruit. The Henriquezes have pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Attorneys for Manuel Henriquez declined to comment Wednesday, and an attorney for Elizabeth Henriquez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michelle Janavs of Newport Coast, Calif., another mother of a student recently admitted to Georgetown, has pleaded not guilty to fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors have accused her of arranging to pay Singer $400,000 to facilitate her son’s admission to Georgetown as a tennis recruit. An attorney for Janavs did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment.
Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.