Less than a week after news broke on the nationwide admissions scandal, John Legend, a 1999 College graduate, criticized the college admissions system for being "rigged" while at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Mar. 14.
Legend, who studied English at Penn, mentioned that he went to a "good school" and said that people are viewing the national scandal "rightly as fraudulent and dishonest." The alleged crimes in the national scandal, which implicated 50 people – including famous actors, college athletic coaches, and university administrators – involve schemes surrounding cheating on entrance exams and bribing college officials to falsely identify students as part of athletic recruitment. Penn was not among the higher education institutions listed in court documents unsealed by the United States Department of Justice on Mar. 12.
"The bottom line is, the system has been rigged for wealthy people for a long time," Legend told Entertainment Tonight. "The admissions system rewards people's parents being wealthy and people's parents having gone to a certain school. There's a lot of legal ways to do that that still aren't really that fair to a lot of other people."
Legend and his wife, Christine Teigen, also posted a photo on Twitter on Mar. 13 with their heads photoshopped onto professional soccer players’ bodies. The post was made in reference to “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli, who were both charged with falsely passing off their daughters as recruits for the University of Southern California’s crew team. A federal judge set Loughlin’s bail for $1 million, according to Forbes.
"Does this look real? we are trying to get into harvard," Teigen wrote in her tweet.
Although Penn was not among the institutions named in the Justice Department's documents, former Penn men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen testified just days before the national scandal surfaced that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Philip Esformes, a father of a Wharton senior, to recruit his son to the team.
Miami federal court documents filed on Mar. 14 then showed that Esformes had also contacted William Singer, the college admissions consultant at the center of the national scandal, to ask for advice about his son being recruited to Penn.
Penn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the University will consider revisiting admission procedures related to athletic recruitment in undergraduate admissions.
"Penn Admissions and [the University's Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics] have worked with an outside consultant to review and strengthen our processes for the recruitment of student athletes and, in light of the current charges, will again consider whether any further changes are called for in our recruitment and evaluation processes," Furda wrote in an email to the DP.
During his time at Penn, Legend was an active member in the a cappella group Counterparts. Legend has since become the youngest African-American EGOT, an honor given to those who have received Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also wrote a column for the DP in 2011, sharing his belief that all children deserve a high-quality education.