The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Operation Varsity Blues: A film that exposes how far people will go


Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” was released on Netflix on March 17. This film is a reenactment of the scandal that rocked higher education and exposed the corruption of both wealthy individuals and top universities. 

In the beginning of the film, a message reads, “The conversations in this film are real. They are recreations of wiretap transcripts released by U.S. Government. Some of the conversations may have been combined or modified for time and clarity.”

“Operation Varsity Blues” mainly tells the story of Rick Singer, the mastermind behind this “side door” approach to college admissions. In the film, Singer says he’s done 761 “side doors.” He describes this idea of doors as the “front door is getting in on your own, back door is a major donation to the university directly, no guarantee, side door [is a] special donation to his foundation to conceal that they were bribes and a guarantee.” In the film, it is said that parents paid Singer $25 million to get their kids into the college or university of their choice. 

The film shows how multiple cases unfolded, including: Gordon Caplan, Lori Loughlin, Felicia Huffman, John B. Wilson, and many others. It also gives insight into who aided Singer in this deception.

The film begins with interviews from former students that Singer helped as a counselor. He began in Sacramento in 1998. He would coach kids into college and was deceptive for decades. Since the beginning, Singer would cut corners in smaller ways like exaggerating on essays, and then would change students’ race so they would qualify for affirmative action. 

As the film progresses, audiences see through the incredibly clear reenactments how Singer and the wealthy were able to pay their way into universities of their choice.  

Perhaps the most horrific part of this film is that a lot of the parents who paid for their child to get into a school of their choice, didn’t want the kids to know. The wiretaps provided a candid look into the conversations that occurred between parents and Singer and, oftentimes, the parents weren’t just deceiving colleges, but also their kids. At one point in the film, a parent doesn’t want their child to know that their test answers will be changed, so Singer says, don’t tell them and they’ll just think they got lucky. It’s an ultimate betrayal, but when people view which college their children go to as a status point, it doesn’t matter enough to stop them. 

Although Singer pled guilty in 2019, he has not been tried yet as he is still cooperating with the FBI. Perhaps the most important aspect of this film is that it shows how far people are willing to go to get what they want.

“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” is available for streaming now on Netflix.

Featured Image courtesy of Tom Thompson via Flickr Creative Commons

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Operation Varsity Blues: A film that exposes how far people will go