Accessibility statementSkip to main content
We need your help: All banner donations made today will support The Daily's new staff financial aid program.
Learn more and donate.


Stanford student’s acceptance linked with “fabricated sailing credentials,” $500,000 donation


A current Stanford student was accepted to the University “partly due to the fact that she had fabricated sailing credentials” on her application, according to federal court transcripts from the Tuesday plea hearing of former sailing coach John Vandemoer.

The student — who has never been a member of Stanford’s sailing team — was not admitted to the University as a recruited athlete, but instead went through the standard application process.

Her acceptance was followed by a $500,000 payment to the University’s sailing program from a foundation run by William Rick Singer, the man behind a national college admissions cheating and money laundering scandal involving Vandemoer and at least 49 others. Singer added the false sailing credentials to the student’s Stanford application.

Vandemoer was fired Tuesday after agreeing to plead guilty to accepting contributions to Stanford’s sailing program in exchange for his recommendation of purported sailing recruits for admission to the University.

“We are working to better understand the circumstances around this student and will take whatever actions are appropriate based on what we learn,” wrote Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell in a Thursday statement, noting $770,000 in fraudulent payments was received by Stanford’s sailing program as part of Singer’s scam.

Vandemoer did not do anything to affect the enrolled student’s “application in any material way,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen told the judge in the former coach’s Tuesday plea hearing. Vandemoer has not faced any charges related to the enrolled student nor the associated $500,000 payment from Singer’s charity.

“I’m telling you, he did nothing,” Vandemoer’s attorney, Rob Fisher, told The Mercury News in a Thursday interview, though Fisher added later in the interview that Singer’s donation to the sailing program may have been intended “to establish a relationship” with Vandemoer.

Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda did not answer The Daily’s questions about the unnamed student and the potential consequences of Thursday’s revelations, though Stanford News posted a statement on the matter that “will be updated as new information becomes available.”

“Applicants to Stanford sign a statement verifying that the information they are providing is accurate,” the statement reads. “If it is found to be inaccurate, they can be disenrolled from the university or have their admission cancelled, as has regretfully happened in the past.”

While you're here...

We're a student-run organization committed to providing hands-on experience in journalism, digital media and business for the next generation of reporters. Your support makes a difference in helping give staff members from all backgrounds the opportunity to develop important professional skills and conduct meaningful reporting. All contributions are tax-deductible.


Get Our EmailsGet Our Emails

The author's profile picture


Holden Foreman '21 was the Vol. 258-59 chief technology officer. Holden was president and editor-in-chief in Vol. 257, executive editor (vice president) in Vol. 256, managing editor of news in Vol. 254 and student business director in Vol. 255.