Seoul drops the hammer on university sports corruption

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Seoul drops the hammer on university sports corruption

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Monday that athletes and coaches found rigging college admissions will be permanently barred from sports.

Furthermore, teams affiliated with universities found condoning such practices won’t be allowed to participate in national leagues or tournaments. Elementary, middle and high school sports teams will be exempted from these policies, as aspiring sports majors must compete in games to later enter their chosen fields of study.

Depending on the severity of the infraction, the government will either limit universities’ student admissions to 10 percent or reduce their subsidies, possibly cutting them entirely. Also, parents taking part in corruption will be charged with bribery.

These austere measures are part of the an effort, begun last December, to root out endemic corruption in sports, especially bribery and match fixing.

“Admission corruption happens more often in universities than middle or high schools,” said Lee Hae-don, head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Sports Promotion Division. He added that such measures are “inevitable” if Korea is ever to achieve a sporting world free of corruption.

In line with these actions, the Ministry of Education and Korean Council for University Education have made various amendments to school regulations.

Ministry officials, with the cooperation of various sports associations, will electronically issue records of sporting events in order to make match fixing measurably more difficult. The Korean Olympic Committee will also upload to its website video clips of important sports games, inviting impartial third-party evaluations.

Last May, police arrested the chairman of the Korea Swimming Federation, who had received bribes for helping students gain admission to Korea National Sports University. Last November and December, police also commenced an investigation into corruption regarding Yonsei and Korea University’s baseball teams.

BY CHEON IN-SONG [shin.sooyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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