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Bribes and Big-Time Sports: U.S.C. Finds Itself, Once Again, Facing Scandal

Rozette Rago for The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — On the palm-tree-lined campus of the University of Southern California this week, a tour guide proudly pointed out to prospective students the university’s six Heisman football trophies and award-winning faculty, testaments to the stellar reputation the school has fought hard to build.

What the guide didn’t mention was that U.S.C. had emerged at the epicenter of an unfolding college admissions scandal involving federal charges of bribery, cheating and parents who were willing to pay thousands of dollars to get their underperforming children into some of the nation’s top universities.