Competitive Rowers Speak Out About Olivia Jade And College Bribery Scandal

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It’s time that the real college athletes spoke out about the collegiate bribery scandal in which the children of privilege faked a level of athletic prowess or stature to score a spot at a prestigious university in exchange for payoffs all around. Now competitive rowers talk about their admissions process in comparison to that of Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli’s, which allegedly involved sending in faked photos of her in a boat.

Surya Murthy and Ally Stein, who both rowed high school crew, says that their application process bears no resemblance to the one described in the charging documents against Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, whose daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose faked being crew stars to attend USC, reports The Daily Mail.

Both Murthy and Stein were members of Redwood Scullers, a California Bay area rowing club, and they wonder how it’s possible how nobody noticed that the Giannullis never rowed crew. They shared the example of another person caught up in the bribery scandal, Audrey Jackson, who applied to USC early decision in 2017, saying that she was a rower from Redwood Scullers.

Murthy and Stein say they have both been members of the elite club for years and had never met or even heard of Audrey Jackson.

Murthy says that a simple background check would have proved Jackson to be a liar, as she said she was a “varsity 8 stroke.”

“That was a straight-up lie, they weren’t even trying. I thought that was almost hilarious. We never had a varsity 8. There’s no background checking for that?”

Both Murthy and Stein say they were interested in USC, but despite waking up hours before school starts to row and making the elite team as freshmen, the school lost interest in them in the first round. Stein gave up competitive rowing to enroll at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.


“I feel robbed, but mostly for my friends who stopped getting recruited to USC in the final rounds.”

Murthy and Stein both say they were shocked when they heard Olivia Jade claimed to be a coxswain for the LA Marina Club team, which does not exist. Both former rowers had heard of Olivia Jade and had watched her YouTube videos, where she talks about her entire life, yet never mentioned even a passing interest in rowing crew.

“It’s pretty irresponsible they let someone like Olivia Jade slip by like that. She’s so popular. It’s remarkable no one noticed.”

Murthy said that it’s sad that legitimate recruiting spots were taken up by people who weren’t even athletes.

“I know girls who spent their whole high school careers working toward this. It’s really heartbreaking to hear about these spots being taken.”