News & Opinion | June 13, 2019 5:00 am

Former Stanford Sailing Coach to Serve No Prison Time in College Admissions Scandal

John Vandemoer, was given a far lighter sentence than expected

Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer received a lighter sentence than expected.
Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer received a lighter sentence than expected.
Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The first sentence in the college admissions scandal has been handed down, and one former Stanford University coach is breathing a sigh of relief.

John Vandemoer, a former sailing coach at the university, got no prison time at his sentencing on Wednesday, The New York Times reported. The former coach was sentenced to a single day in prison — which the judge said had already been served — and six months of home confinement, which will be observed as part of a two-year supervised release. 

Vandemoer, who was accused of taking bribes from a corrupt college consultant as part of the nation-wide college admissions scam, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering. Unlike other coaches who have been charged in the case, however, Vandemoer did not take home any money from the bribes. The money was instead directed to the school’s sailing program.

According to the Times, Stanford is the only school involved in the admissions scandal where all of the money paid in connection with the scheme — $770,000 in total — actually went to fund university programs.

In an interview before his sentencing, Vandemoer said he believed his actions were helping the team by securing the donations, which would fund equipment including new boats, which can cost around $120,000 for a full fleet.

“I thought having the money coming for this would mean that we could sail with equipment, we could focus on us competing and not focus on repairing boats and so on from that, and that myself could focus on coaching the team,” said Vandemoer. “I thought that was going to be a positive, but I was wrong, and I see that now.”

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