Federal investigators are looking into any alleged involvement Pat Haden, former Southern California athletics director and star quarterback, had in the national college admissions scandal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Investigators are questioning ties Haden had with William Singer, who was the alleged organizer of a cheating scheme that altered test scores that helped students get into universities. Athletic officials were accused of collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars to help students get into schools like USC, Stanford, UCLA, Georgetown and Wake Forest, disguising them as recruits.
Haden hasn't been charged for any part of the scandal and just recently become a person of interest in the case, the WSJ reported.
Haden wrote in a statement provided to the Journal through his son-in-law: "Like many people, I was introduced to Mr. Singer several years ago by a friend. I was unaware of his illegal activities and had no ongoing relationship with him whatsoever."
The WSJ noted, citing an unidentified source, that Haden introduced Singer to former USC senior associate athletics director Donna Heinel and said Singer would be "someone Ms. Heinel should work with" because of his connections.
In response to the report, USC released a statement (via USA Today) acknowledging the school is still conducting an internal investigation and it "will continue to cooperate fully with all law enforcement and regulatory investigations. Ensuring the integrity of the admissions process remains a top priority of university leadership.”
According to court documents released in March, the scheme centered around a California-based non-profit called the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) founded by Singer.
Officials said parents, including several celebrities such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, paid Singer "approximately $25 million" from 2011 to February 2019 "to bribe coaches and university administrators to designate their children as recruited athletes, or other favored admissions categories, in violation of the duty of honest services the coaches and administrators owed to their employers, thereby facilitating the children's admission to the universities."
Singer has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud and obstruction of justice.
After news of the scandal broke, USC parted ways with four members of its athletics department: Heinel, women's soccer coaches Ali Khosroshahin and Laura Janke, and men's and women's water polo coach Jovan Vavic.