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Ex-Georgetown tennis coach, facing admissions scandal charge, resigns as URI women’s coach

Gordon Ernst allegedly collected bribes totaling $2.7 million in exchange for designating “at least 12 applicants as recruits for the Georgetown tennis team, including some who did not play tennis competitively.”
Gordon Ernst allegedly collected bribes totaling $2.7 million in exchange for designating “at least 12 applicants as recruits for the Georgetown tennis team, including some who did not play tennis competitively.”(Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press/File 2013)

Gordon Ernst, the veteran tennis coach who faces a federal racketeering conspiracy charge for his alleged role in a national college admissions cheating scandal while working at Georgetown University, resigned from his coaching job at the University of Rhode Island Friday afternoon, according to the school.

Ernst, 52, who was hired as URI’s women’s tennis coach in August, had been placed on administrative leave by the university March 12, the university said in a statement.

URI said it placed him on leave after his indictment by the FBI “for incidents that allegedly occurred while he was the head coach at Georgetown University.”

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Ernst allegedly collected bribes totaling $2.7 million in exchange for designating “at least 12 applicants as recruits for the Georgetown tennis team, including some who did not play tennis competitively, thereby facilitating their admission to Georgetown,” according to filings at US District Court in Boston.

Ernst notified URI on Friday afternoon that he would step down, the university statement said.

Georgetown has said Ernst was no longer coaching at the university as of December 2017, “following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions.”

Ernst is among 50 defendants charged in the scheme in which dozens of wealthy parents allegedly paid to have their children accepted at prestigious schools by falsely certifying them as athletic recruits.

Some parents also allegedly paid to facilitate cheating on their children’s SAT and ACT exams.

On Thursday, Ernst, a Cranston, R.I., native with homes in Chevy Chase, Md., and Falmouth, filed a motion seeking the court’s permission to travel throughout the country to look for work and care for elderly relatives.

Ernst is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Monday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when Gordon Ernst last coached at Georgetown. It was December 2017.

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Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.