“THEIR OWN MERIT”: OPERATION VARSITY BLUES AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO IMAGE REPAIR DISCOURSE AND THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES

Date

2021-05

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

In March 2019, federal officials announced charges (CNN, 2019) in the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice” (NBC 6 South Florida, 2019). Authorities dubbed this effort Operation Varsity Blues (Lens, 2021). Certain individuals stepped forward to apologize for their roles in the scandal. Operation Varsity Blues created an opportunity for new research to add to extant image repair literature and to study the event’s broader impact. The researcher (1) used publicly available texts of individuals’ apologies and analyzed these texts through the lens of Benoit’s (1997) Image Repair Theory, (2) compared the strategies used in the apologies and evaluated the strategies’ effectiveness, and (3) studied Operation Varsity Blue’s impact on the college admissions process in the United States. The researcher ultimately concluded that, generally, the individuals’ image repair efforts were successful and that the scandal did not create meaningful change in the college admissions process.

Description

Keywords

Image Repair Theory, Operation Varsity Blues, College Admissions, Apologia

Citation