The loose thread that with a yank unraveled a widely-publicized college admissions scandal began with a white California prep school student assuming the persona of a Black tennis star whose parents never went to college for multiple college applications.
Vanity Fair magazine changed the student’s first name and referred to her as Eliza Bass in an article detailing how the story was uncovered at the private college preparatory school, Buckley School.
The school is located in the California neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, which is about 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles and has an average household income in the six figures, according to realtor reports.
Julie Taylor-Vaz, a guidance counselor on the campus, told Vanity Fair she knew something wasn’t right when a Tulane University admissions officer said the college had accepted Bass as a Black tennis whiz ranked in California’s Top 10.
Bass is white. She wasn’t a competitive tennis athlete, and her father, Adam Bass, was a school board member and Orange County attorney with a B.A. and law degree from the University of San Diego, according to an online attorney profile.
Taylor-Vaz told her bosses about what she found and the school made calls to Georgetown and Loyola Marymount universities, which also wanted to accept the Black tennis star, according to Vanity Fair.
Buckley officials reached out to the student’s father in its investigation, and he initially denied hiring an outside consultant for his daughter, Vanity Fair reported.
But he later admitted his daughter used Rick Singer, the mastermind behind what later became known as a college admissions scandal.
He pleaded guilty March 19 to facilitating the largest college admissions scheme ever prosecuted in the U.S. He is estimated to have pocketed nearly $25 million from wealthy parents looking to get their children into prestigious colleges with bribes, according to numerous media reports.
“Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria told “Entertainment Tonight” Wednesday that her former co-star indicted in the scandal, Felicity Huffman, has been “humbled” by the experience.
“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin also faces charges in the scam.
In the Vanity Fair story of lesser-known parent Adam Bass, he explained that Singer had asked for Eliza Bass’ name and password to her applications file and that one of Singer’s employees must have changed his daughter’s application and submitted it without her knowledge.
Eliza Bass wrote an email detailing the explanation to Georgetown and Tulane, but the colleges weren’t moved, Vanity Fair reported.
They argued that no applicant should have someone else in control of his or her application in the first place, according to Vanity Fair.
She was however, allowed to retract false statements and reapply to University of California schools where she had applied.