USC just really wants to encourage a new generation of pole vaulters.

From the New York Times profile of Rick Singer:

When he sought out photos of a student that he planned to insert digitally into a real image of an athlete, he breezily told one parent not to worry, he had done this “a million times.” In communications with colleges, he laid out false athletic credentials for students that might easily have been checked and revealed as lies; he listed one high school student as a “3-year Varsity Letter winner” in water polo and “Team M.V.P. 2017,” even though the girl did not know how to play the sport.

Last summer, when an adviser at the University of Southern California asked an incoming freshman about his plans for the track team, the student — unaware that his parents and Mr. Singer had sold him as a track standout, complete with a pole-vaulting photo — phoned home, clearly confused. The student’s worried mother then called Mr. Singer, who brushed it all off. “I would just go about your business and let it be,” he told her.

USC: We are so excited to have you join our track team next year!
OBLIVIOUS RICK SINGER VICTIM: i'm sorry what
USC: Your pole vaulting prowess is unmatched. Lettering 6x in pole vaulting. Youngest pole vaulting pole vaulter in America. Pole vaulting
championship champion. Champ pole vaulter you are
OBLIVIOUS [super distracted by Grand Theft Auto, one earbud in, one ear on the phone]: ok
USC: Welcome to the class of 2023!
OBLIVIOUS: ok bye [drops phone, full attention to Grand Theft Auto]
--
Later in the day
OBLIVIOUS: mom, i got a really weird call this afternoon from USC
MOM [starting to sweat]: Oh really? What happened?
OBLIVIOUS: they kept talking about track and my pole vaulting background? they were super excited about it?
MOM: Oh yeah, you know that's just what USC does now. They just like to encourage new folks to join the pole vaulting team, because pole vaulting has really dropped in popularity in recent years.
OBLIVIOUS:  oh ok. so do i have to start pole vaulting
MOM: No, you can [reads from Singer's exact words that she has scribbled on the inside of her left wrist] "just go about your business and let it be"
OBLIVIOUS: k cool

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