USC Coach Says ‘Varsity Blues’ Recruit Came to Practice Once
(Bloomberg) -- A supposed star water polo recruit to the University of Southern California showed up for practice once and never returned, a team coach testified at the “Varsity Blues” trial of private equity investor John B. Wilson.
Wilson, 62, founder of Hyannis Port Capital, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he paid Jovan Vavic, USC’s former head water polo coach, $200,000 to designate his son Johnny a water polo recruit. Casey Moon, an assistant coach at the time, testified on Tuesday that the younger Wilson didn’t really make a strong impression on the team.
“I don’t remember him at all being at practice,” Moon said. “Only on the first day. And after the first day, I’ve never seen him again.”
USC is regularly ranked among the nation’s top teams in water polo, Moon said. When Vavic said he’d recruited Johnny Wilson, Moon said he was surprised because he’d never heard of him. But Vavic reassured him Wilson could “fly” in the pool, bragging about swim speeds so fast Moon said he thought the recruit should be headed for USC’s swim team instead of water polo.
Vavic, who was fired by USC, has also been charged. He pleaded not guilty and is slated to go on trial later this year.
On cross-examination, John Wilson’s lawyer, Michael Kendall, showed Moon a team roster that included Wilson’s son. Kendall has argued Johnny Wilson left the team due to an injury.
The elder Wilson has also pleaded not guilty to paying William “Rick” Singer, the admitted mastermind of the college admissions fraud scheme, about $1 million to secure slots as recruited athletes at Stanford and Harvard universities for his twin daughters. Singer agreed to cooperate with the U.S. and secretly recorded calls with the parents.
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