NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and golfer Phil Mickelson denied any knowledge or involvement in a college admissions scam involving wealthy families after they were linked to the for-profit college prep firm at the center of the scandal.
Montana and Mickelson each admitted to hiring Edge College & Career Network, the prep company helmed by the scam’s alleged ringleader, William “Rick” Singer. Federal authorities arrested dozens of wealthy parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, for conspiring with Singer to bribe college coaches and administrators to boost their kids’ chances of admission to leading colleges.
“Mr. Singer’s company provided nothing more than minimal consulting services to our family, like so many other families, with the college application process,” Montana said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. “Fortunately our kids were able to pick from a number of schools to attend due to their hard work and their merit. Thanks.”
Montana, 62, won four Super Bowls as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers during the 1990s. His links to Singer’s company became known due to a resurfaced 2014 Facebook post by the firm, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Montana has four children, all of whom have graduated from college.
Neither he nor Mickelson were named in federal documents outlining “Operation Varsity Blues,” the name of the investigation into the scheme.
Mickelson, a five-time major champion, issued a similar denial on social media on Thursday.
“Our family, along with thousands of others, used Rick Singer’s company to guide us through the college admission process,” he said. “We are shocked by the revelations of these events. Obviously, we were not part of this fraud, our kids would disown us if we ever tried to interfere.”
Singer pleaded guilty to a number of federal felony charges this week.