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Former San Diego coach Lamont Smith identified in college admissions scandal

Portland v San Diego

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 03: Head coach Lamont Smith of the San Diego Toreros looks on during a first-round game of the West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament against the Portland Pilots at the Orleans Arena on March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Portland won 60-55. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Former San Diego head coach Lamont Smith has been identified by the school as the employee involved in the widespread college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.”

The scandal received nationwide attention earlier this month when prominent schools, and famous actresses like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were among 50 people charged for bribing college coaches and others to help gain access for their children to attend certain colleges.

The University of San Diego said Wednesday that they had been subject to a confidentiality order which barred them from mentioning Smith’s name. The order was later modified by the U.S. Department of Justice -- which allowed the school to directly name its former head coach.

The indictment alleged that real estate developer Robert Flaxman paid nearly $110,000 to get his son and daughter into the University of San Diego using Smith as a point of contact. According to the indictment, Flaxman was an FBI witness and Smith allegedly helped the school accept Flaxman’s son as an athletic recruit -- even though he didn’t play basketball.

Flaxman also allegedly paid similar bribes for his daughter to gain admissions to San Diego, but she declined to attend, according to a report from the USD Vista.

Smith resigned as San Diego’s head coach in 2018 after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence at the team’s hotel. Placed on administrative leave following the arrest, Smith resigned after the charges were dropped. Smith is currently an assistant coach at UTEP.

“The only USD employees, students, or applicants involved in the alleged wrongdoing are the three people identified by the government: Lamont Smith and two applicants, one is a current student and one declined admission,” University of San Diego Assistant Vice President of Media Communications Pamela Gray Payton said in a statement to ABC 10 News San Diego.