The University of Rhode Island says its athletic director called Georgetown University's athletic director this year before hiring a tennis coach now implicated in a college admissions scheme and received a positive recommendation.
Court documents allege Gordon Ernst was paid more than $2.7 million and designated at least 12 applicants as recruits, facilitating their admission to Georgetown.
Georgetown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said this week that Ernst has not coached there since 2017 after an investigation found he violated university admissions rules.
URI said in a statement Thursday that its athletic director contacted Georgetown in July. URI spokesman Dave Lavalee says the university was not told about the 2017 admission rules violations.
The statement also says URI also reached three out of four of Ernst's references, who gave him positive recommendations, and a background check showed no criminal history.
Ernst was hired in Rhode Island in August. He has been placed on administrative leave.