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The University of Texas coach is 6 months in prison for bribing college admissions

Michael Center, a former male tennis coach at the University of Texas-Austin, leaves the federal court in Boston on February 24 after being sentenced in a nationwide bribery scandal.

BOSTON – Former University of Texas former male tennis coach Michael Center was sentenced to six months in prison on Monday for accepting $ 100,000 in bribes for incorrectly labeling a candidate as a recruit for student admission.

He is the first college coach to receive time behind bars in the national college admissions scandal after a former Stanford sailing coach avoided prison last summer.

“This is a case, I think, that the company has an interest in punishment,” said US district judge Richard Stearns. The Centre’s actions “contest the entire integrity of the … education system in this country”.

Center, 55, sobbed and was consoled by his lawyers and family for several minutes. His holding period is tied for the second longest in the case of admissions. Corporate executive Douglas Hodge, a parent who paid four times the plan led by master Rick Singer, for a total of $ 850,000, was sentenced to nine months in prison.

“I understand your anguish,” said Stearns. “I know you’re a good man, but that’s one of those things that can’t be overlooked.”

Center, which was fired from UT-Austin in the following March an accomplished career that included the National College of the Year Coach, found guilty in April for conspiracy to commit fraud and honest services. He agreed to collaborate with federal prosecutors.

Dealing with prosecutors:The former Texas tennis coach pleads guilty in court for the college admissions scandal

The sentence corresponds to the six months recommended by prosecutors for his collaboration. The Center was sentenced to one year of supervision at the time of its release and to the loss of $ 60,000, equal to the amount it claimed to have made from the crime. He is due to report to prison on April 6.

Leaving the court, the Center declined to comment. His lawyer, Jack Cunha, called the phrase “harsh”.

The prison sentence – the only sentence Stearns pronounced in the scandal – is longer than another judge gave parents who paid significantly more in the fraud system than the Center received in bribes.

“This is a good man who made a mistake,” said Cunha. “None of us want to be judged on the worst day of our lives, and it’s his worst day.

“I thought he had been hit hard. He helped them from the start. He did everything he could to do it well, knowing what he had done wrong. It is a case that is sexy media, and I think he paid for it. . “

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