NFL Great Joe Montana Says He Used Company Behind Alleged College Scam But His Kids Got in on 'Merit'
The football Hall of Famer admitted to using Rick Singer's tutoring company but claimed his children's opportunities were based on their "hard work and their merit"
On Friday, Montana, 62, a former NFL quarterback who played for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, revealed on Twitter that he was one of the many who used Singer’s Edge College & Career Network company to assist with his children’s college admissions process — but nothing more than that.
Montana explained that while his family got guidance from the company, his children — sons Nick, 26, and Nate, 29, and daughters Elizabeth, 32 and Alexandra, 33 — got offers from a number of schools due to their “hard work and merit.”
“Mr. Singer’s company provided nothing more than minimal consulting services to our family, like so many other families, with the college application process,” Montana tweeted of the man believed to be the mastermind of the alleged scheme.
“Fortunately our kids were able to pick from a number of schools to attend due to their hard work and their merit. Thanks,” he added.
Reps for Montana did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Montana graduated from the University of Notre Dame. His son Nate and daughter Elizabeth followed in his footsteps, but Nate eventually transferred several times before graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan.
Nick was also a multi-transfer student but ended up at Tulane University. It is unclear where Alexandra chose to attend school.
Montana is not the only professional athlete to speak out about his connection to Singer in the wake of the alleged scandal.
On Thursday, professional golfer Phil Mickelson also admitted to using Singer‘s company to help his children get into college but claimed he received admissions guidance and not anything more.
Unlike the 50 people who have been indicted as part of the alleged nationwide fraud, Mickelson said he was not involved, in part because his three children — Evan, 15, Sophia, 17 and Amanda, 19 — would “disown” him and his wife Amy if they “tried to interfere.”
“Our family, along with thousands of others, used Rick Singer’s company to guide us through the college admission process. We are shocked by the revelations of these events,” he tweeted. “Obviously, we were not part of this fraud, our kids would disown us if we ever tried to interfere.”
Reps for Mickelson did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Federal court records unsealed in Boston on Monday named 50 people, including high profile actresses Felicity Huffman and Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, who were indicted as part of the alleged nationwide college scheme, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
“Dozens of individuals involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston,” the release said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI alleged in the indictment that the scheme helped students gain acceptance to top schools by helping them cheat on college exams.
Some named in the court documents allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, UCLA, the University of San Diego, University of Texas and Wake Forest, according to federal prosecutors.
It also helped students get into top colleges as athletes no matter what their abilities or even if they played the sport, according to the indictment. Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest and Georgetown, were also implicated.
Huffman, 56, allegedly gave $15,000 to Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter,” the indictment states.
Loughlin, 54, allegedly gave $500,000 to have her children designated as crew team recruits, when they had never rowed, the indictment states.
Singer, meanwhile, pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy; money laundering conspiracy; conspiracy to defraud US; obstruction of justice on Tuesday. He was released on a $500,000 bond and his sentencing is scheduled for June 19.