College scam mastermind handed Texas coach $60K cash in parking lot: feds

The man who masterminded the college bribery scandal allegedly met with a University of Texas tennis coach in a parking lot and handed him $60,000 in cash to secure a spot at the school for one of his clients.

The boy’s dad — who hasn’t been named — in 2015 paid crooked college prep adviser William “Rick” Singer with stocks worth more than $600,000 to get his son into the school, a criminal complaint against tennis coach Michael Center alleges.

Singer then cut a deal with Center to pay the coach a total of $100,000 to name the teen as a tennis recruit to the college, prosecutors claim.

The boy’s own application showed he hadn’t played tennis since his freshman year of high school and listed him as a manager of his school’s basketball and football teams, according to court documents.

Center signed the applicant to a “books scholarship” — in which the university pays for an athlete’s books — to secure his admission, and the teen was then added to the U-Texas tennis team roster as a recruited athlete, court documents allege.

Singer then allegedly sent $40,000 in checks to “Texas Athletics” — before taking $60,000 from his account in six separate withdrawals, and then flying from California to Austin to pay Center the rest of the money in a hotel parking lot.

When the student started classes in September 2015, he immediately quit the tennis team and renounced the scholarship, prosecutors say.

In a wiretapped phone call with Singer last year, Center allegedly acknowledged the deal — and agreed to consider doing it again for another kid.

“I signed him to ‘books’ … And I got him in the school, you know, and then he — then he withdrew from the team,” Center allegedly told Singer when asked if he remembered what he’d done last time.

“You sent me a couple checks that I put towards the facility … And then I — and then — and then you came to Austin that one time … So I think — I think the total amount was, you know, in the nineties area, if I remember correctly.”

Center rakes in $232,000 a year from his contract with the college, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Center’s lawyer said Tuesday that FBI agents showed up at his client’s home at 6 a.m. that morning to take him in, according to Fox 7 Austin.

The attorney said Center will plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

“He’s devastated by this accusation. He’s a guy without so much as a jaywalking ticket in his history, he’s a fine man, he’s a great coach, he’s a great husband, he’s a great father,” said attorney Dan Cogdell.

The school says Center has been placed on leave.

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