Operation Varsity Blues: IMG Academy Suspends Admissions Director Mark Riddell

IMG Academy has been dubbed “the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational institution.” It’s in this institution where students refine their athletic and educational abilities. IMG employees top of the line professionals to ensure student success on and off the field.

Mark Riddell is the director of College Entrance Exam and Preparation at IMG who prepares the students for the ACT and SAT.

However, Riddell made headlines the other day for his involvement in the collegiate bribery scandal.

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Reported from the Miami Herald, IMG has recently suspended Riddell due to his involvement in the recent scandal. The IMG Academy communications department came out with a statement yesterday.

“Today we were made aware of the charges against Mark Riddell,” a statement read. “Riddell has been suspended indefinitely as we investigate this matter.”

Riddell has been accused of taking SAT and ACT exams for 14 families. It’s reported that Riddell took Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman daughter’s exam as well. However, the court documents found paint the case against Riddell.

In 2018, Riddell accepted a bribe of 10,000 dollars to take the ACT exam for a student. Riddell scored a 35 out of 36 and the test was then mailed to ACT personnel. The exam administrator was also paid $5,000 to not tamper with the unethical actions Riddell was providing.

However, all of this ties back to middle man William Rick Singer, CEO of Key Worldwide. The fraudulent company provided services that let professionals take SAT and ACT exams in place of students. The company also creates fake athletic profiles for students to give off the perception that they are recruitable athletes. Singer would then bribe specific coaches with a lucrative offer’s to let the child be accepted to the school as a recruit. But once enrolled the student would not carry the burden of being a collegiate athlete.

According to NBC Miami, Riddell has been charged with “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering.” BBC News adds that prosecutors stated in a news conference that Riddell is “just a really smart guy.” Massachusetts Attorney General and lead prosecutor on the case Andrew Lelling stated: “He was just smart enough to get a near perfect score on demand or to calibrate the score.”

The world will now watch and see if Riddell is smart enough to maneuver his way out legally.