Tuesday was definitely not a "good day" for UT Tennis Coach Michael Center who made his first appearance before an Austin federal judge wearing burnt orange Longhorn gear.
"When the FBI knocks on your door, pounds on your door with 8 guys in SWAT uniform it's never a good day," said Center's attorney Dan Cogdell on Tuesday.
According to a "cooperating witness" in the criminal complaint, in 2015 Center agreed to accept approximately $100,000 from the witness as a bribe. At one point, cash was delivered to the coach in a hotel parking lot here in Austin.
In exchange, Center would designate an applying student as a recruit to the UT Tennis team, one who had only played tennis as a high school freshman.
The student got in, then withdrew from the tennis team and dropped the scholarship.
On Wednesday Governor Greg Abbott commented on the nationwide scandal at the Governor's mansion.
"It's important for every University to go back and re-evaluate, to study and to investigate their admissions processes to make sure nothing like this either is happening or can happen," Abbott said.
The Key Worldwide Foundation is at the center of the scandal. If their tax records are to be trusted, they've donated approximately $546,500 to UT Athletics.
J.B. Bird, Director of Media Relations at UT sent this statement:
The University does not have records that match the donation amounts in Key Worldwide Foundation's tax records. We have a record of a $15,000 donation from the Key Worldwide Foundation on June 10, 2015. This was designated for use on an outdoor tennis facility. To our knowledge, this is the only record we have of a donation from or related to the organization. The University is in the process of reviewing other gifts that could be related to the 2015 incident, which could total several hundred thousand dollars. All information is being shared with federal investigators.
Jaime Ayala is the Student Success Coordinator at Foundation Communities' "College Hub." They typically serve families making $55,000 a year or less.
"We help students overcome barriers to education. We help with scholarship applications, we do admissions applications," Ayala said.
He says college is far too expensive and he's hoping that could change as a result of this scandal. He says what those from a privileged background were doing makes it harder for students who are really trying.
"It's just pretty sad," Ayala said. "I mean we see students here every single day who are struggling to get enough money from financial aid, they take out multiple student loans, their parents take out 'parent plus loans' just to be able to put them through 1 year of school let alone 4 years of school and for someone to come and just sort of make a large donation or somehow use their wealth that could easily be used to pay their own tuition you know, you take that opportunity from someone else,"
Coach Center is out on bond. UT has fired Center and appointed an interim tennis coach. Center's due in court in Boston on March 25th.
His attorney says he'll plead not guilty and he's confident he'll be found not guilty.