Sports

Phil Mickelson, Joe Montana Speak Out After Connection to College Admission Scammers Revealed

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NFL free agency was expected to dominate this week’s headlines, and it did — until news broke Tuesday about a college admissions scandal in which wealthy parents allegedly bribed coaches and insiders at testing centers to help get their children into top universities.

A couple of high-profile athletes have been linked to the man at the center of the scandal.

Five-time majors champion Phil Mickelson and four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana have ties to Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty to four charges including racketeering and fraud.

Mickelson admitted to hiring Singer’s company to help tutor his children as they prepared for college. But he also made it clear that neither he nor his family was involved in the fraud perpetrated by Singer.

“We are shocked by the revelations of these events,” Mickelson said on Twitter. “Obviously, we were not part of this fraud, our kids would disown us if we ever tried to interfere.”

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He expanded on his comments about his family’s use of Singer following his opening round at The Players Championship.

“He was highly recommended by numerous friends that checked out, so we ended up using him,” Mickelson said, according to the Golf Channel. “Where he and his company were helpful was helping our kids, who have such different personalities, to find the best place for them. And then knowing going in what you need to do academically, score-wise, to be able to get there.”

The Mickelsons have three children: one is a sophomore at Brown University and the others are in high school.

Mickelson and his wife provided a testimonial that was featured on the website for Singer’s company. But the golfer denied making any illegal financial contributions to the company.

Montana was also a client of Singer, and he tweeted that Singer acted as no more than a consultant for his family.

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Montana has four children, all of whom are out of college. Both of his sons were quarterbacks at FBS programs.

Montana’s name became linked to Singer thanks for a 2014 Facebook post from one of Singer’s companies. The post advertised Singer’s work with Montana and said he shared “secrets” with the quarterback and others who sought help with college admissions.

While neither Mickelson or Montana was implicated in any wrongdoing, the same can’t be said for many other sports figures.

Sports Illustrated compiled a list of 10 NCAA coaches or athletic directors who were implicated and mentioned in court documents.

All of them coach either Olympic or non-revenue sports, and four of the individuals have been fired by their respective universities.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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