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The former Yale University women’s soccer coach whose cooperation with authorities helped blow the lid off the nationwide college admissions bribery scandal by leading the FBI to the scheme’s mastermind was sentenced Wednesday to five months in prison.

Rudy Meredith, head coach at Yale from 1995 until 2018, pleaded guilty in March 2019 to wire fraud for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help students get into the elite Ivy League university as soccer recruits. In one case, the recruit did not play competitive soccer, prosecutors have said.

Federal prosecutors and Meredith’s defense lawyers had recommended no additional prison time beyond the one day he had already spent in custody. But U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf said Wednesday that Meredith’s greed and his victims warranted a stiffer sentence.

Wolf described the victims as the members of the Yale team who were “betrayed” by being cheated out of having better teammates, as well as unknown victims — young women who might have gotten into Yale had Meredith not decided to essentially sell slots on the team. Those unknown victims may have included women from disadvantaged backgrounds, the judge said.

“You committed a very serious crime and you didn’t have to do it,” Wolf said.

Before he was sentenced, Meredith, his voice shaking, issued an apology and said he had ruined his reputation and his career because he was driven by greed and the desire to provide for his family.

“It’s all my fault and I am going to pay for this for the rest of my life,” he said.

In addition to the prison term, Meredith was sentenced to a year of probation, fined $19,000 and ordered to forfeiti more than $550,000.

Investigators began looking into Meredith after an executive who prosecutors were targeting in an unrelated securities fraud scheme told them that the coach had offered to help his daughter get into the school in exchange for cash.

Authorities set up a sting in a Boston hotel room in April 2018 and recorded Meredith soliciting a $450,000 bribe from the father.

He helped investigators unravel the wider bribery scheme dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by leading them to William “Rick” Singer, the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme.

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