Michael Center, Former University of Texas Tennis Coach, Sentenced To Prison For College Cheating Scandal

Michael Center will spend six months in prison.

A tennis ball flies through the air.
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Michael Center will spend six months in prison.

Michael Center, who was once the tennis coach at the University of Texas, was sentenced this week for his role in the college admissions scandal.

He will spend six months in prison for accepting a $100,000 bribe to get a student unfairly accepted into the University as an athlete, according to NBC News.

Center’s case is different than many that have been heard thus far because he was on the receiving end of a bribe, not the one doling it out like the celebrity parent cases that have been discussed in the news. The 55-year-old was visibly emotional in court while apologizing to his family, friends, and all those he hurt through his actions.

“I just want you to know how sorry and ashamed I am that I have been a part of this,” he told U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns who was presiding over the case.

Despite Center’s pleas for Judge Stearns to not send him to prison, the judge emphasized that his actions were criminal and had to be dealt with as such.

“I believe you are a good man, but this is one of those things that just can’t be overlooked,” Judge Stearns told him.

Center worked with Rick Singer, the admitted mastermind of the cheating scheme, to get the student in question accepted to the University of Texas. Center agreed to take on the student as part of the tennis team, despite the fact that they didn’t play the sport. The student was accepted to the university after Center added them to the team roster in 2015.

Center’s wrongdoing was discovered by investigators in March of 2019, along with that of over a dozen other parents and wealthy individuals who were wrapped up in this scandal. He avoided the press waiting outside of the courthouse for him after his sentencing.

His lawyer, John Cunha, stuck around to describe how his client is doing in the wake of the sentence. He described Center as “broken” and said that this harsh of a sentence was not necessary as everyone knows that Center knows what he did was wrong.

“Nobody seeing what happened to Michael Center is going to say, ‘Oh my God, I think I’m going to try this myself.’ Even the government says that he’s never going to do anything like this,” he said.

There are still many more people who have yet to find out their fate in regard to this case, including Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, as The Inquisitr previously reported.