Former and current managers of two university baseball teams have been arrested in an admission scandal.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have arrested former Lotte Giants manager Yang Seung-ho and current manager of the Yonsei University baseball team Jung Jin-ho to investigate charges of taking cash in return for admission.
Less than two months ago, Yang was a high-profile manager of the pro baseball team. He resigned on Oct. 30 this year after Lotte failed to survive the playoff stage, the last hurdle to the Korean Series championship.
Former Lotte Giants manager Yang Seung-ho. (Yonhap News)
Yang is suspected of accepting money from parents and coaches of high school baseball teams when he was manager of Korea University’s baseball team. In return he allowed the admission of their children and high school players. He managed the university baseball team from 2007 to 2010.
Yang is believed to have accepted more than 100 million won ($92,500) in total, while Jung allegedly received tens of millions of won.
University admission corruption involving student athletes is nothing new. Whenever the investigative authorities look into admission bribery allegations, a handful of managers of college and high school baseball teams find themselves entangled with the law almost without exception.
But the news of Yang’s and Jung’s arrests is especially shocking, considering that Yonsei and Korea dominate the local university baseball scene as the top two rivals. Also, Yang is vividly remembered as a former big-league manager held high in public esteem.
Admission irregularities have never ceased to exist. It is still an open secret that the amount of money passed under the table increases as the prestige of a university goes up.
The prosecution is casting its net further to other universities on allegations that similar irregularities took place with other baseball teams outside of Yonsei and Korea. Quite a few former and current pro baseball managers and coaches are known to have come under investigation.
Most universities leave it up to managers and coaches to select student athletes rather than pick them through an objective test. Baseball managers and coaches are complicatedly connected all the way from school teams to the professional league, so corruption is very likely to occur in such a selection system.
Thus, experts note that an open try-out is urgent to root out corruption in college admissions of students who play baseball. An open test of all applicants on the same conditions will surely push out room for cash-for-admission dealings, but only one university is to select athlete students for the 2013 school year through an open try-out.
The local baseball community is elated at the creation of the 10th pro club and the record number of spectators, which surpassed 7 million this year. But on the other hand, admission corruption involving student baseball players, who are potential pro leaguers, breaks out yet again.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org