UT-Austin men's tennis coach named in college admissions scandal indictment

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A growing college admissions cheating scandal appears to have several major ties directly to Texas.

Tuesday, the University of Texas at Austin's men's tennis team played their very first match without their head coach, Michael Center.

Center was one of the many well-known people who has been allegedly charged in this nationwide scheme that allowed parents to exchange monetary gifts for college admittance.

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The University of Texas at Austin's tennis coach Michael Center charged aftercollege admissions cheating scandal.

Prosecutors say according to the indictment records, Center accepted $100,000 back in 2015 for helping a purported athletic recruit get into UT.

Once that season was finished, that particular student-athlete voluntarily withdrew from the team.

Federal prosecutors in Boston released nearly 300 pages of allegations in an operation dubbed "Varsity Blues."

At least two Houstonians were also indicted in the scheme: Martin Fox, who is the president of a private tennis academy in Houston; and Niki Williams, an assistant teacher at a Houston high school and test administrator for the College Board and ACT.

University of Texas Associate Athletics Director John Bianco released the following statement about the allegations:

"Federal authorities notified us this morning that we were victims of an organized criminal effort involving admissions. We have just become aware of charges against our Men's Tennis Coach Michael Center and he will be placed on administrative leave until further notice while we gather information. We are cooperating fully with the investigation. Integrity in admissions is vital to the academic and ethical standards of our university."

Prosecutors say this is the largest college admissions cheating scam ever prosecuted in the U.S. Those indicted allegedly paid bribes from $200,000 to up to $6 million each to get their children into the elite schools.

Center has since been placed on administrative leave.

No students were charged. In many cases, the students were not aware of the fraud, authorities said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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