The association between Gambling and College Sports often carries the potential for outcomes that no one wants to see. Illegal activity like points shaving is prohibited -- indeed criminalized. Just the same the lure of making a quick buck by shaving a few points has proved to be a temptation that cannot be resisted by some college players.
One player can often influence points totals or key events. By deliberately missing shots or committing well-timed turnovers or fouls, a corrupt player can covertly ensure that his team fails to cover the point spread, without causing them to lose the game (or to lose so badly that suspicions are aroused).
SAN DIEGO -- A former University of San Diego star player, along with another former player and former assistant coach, were charged with running a sports betting business to affect the outcome of games, federal authorities said Monday.
The indictment names Brandon Johnson, the school's all-time leader in points and assists who finished his college career last year; Thaddeus Brown, an assistant coach at the school in the 2006-07 season; and Brandon Dowdy, who played at San Diego in the 2006-07 season and at the University of California, Riverside, from 2008 to 2010. Seven other people also were charged.
Although the NCAA has adopted a zero tolerance policy with respect to gambling activity by its players, some critics claim these policies unwittingly encourage point shaving. Scholarship athletes often have a very limited opportunity to make money while participating in their respective sports. When one considers the idealistic rules regarding amateurism together with the huge amounts of money wagered on NCAA games, does it come as any surprise that NCAA athletes are going to be approached by folks whose primary motivation centers on illegal gambling? In the present system, how much would it take to get a college point guard to shave a few points?
The number of people involved and the complexity of this operation would lead one to speculate that perhaps there is a good deal more to this than Brandon Johnson and San Diego. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this investigation eventually implicates more schools and more players.
In recent history, it seems that when 'major violations' occur at major programs, those violations result in 'minor consequences'. You see, the NCAA as much as anyone is more concerned about revenue than it is about effective enforcement of all those rules you hear about.
Think about it . . . Auburn and Oregon, the teams that played for the national title last year are both embroiled in ugly investigations by the NCAA.
Auburn in particular decided to make a calculated risk. They figured a shot at their first national championship in more than a half-century was well worth any sanctions that might result from a 'see no evil' NCAA. At this point does anyone doubt Newton got paid to play at Auburn? Especially after several former Auburn players admitted to receiving cash from boosters?
And how about Tressel at Ohio State? Coach Jim Tressel is a busy guy -- too busy to report NCAA violations among his players . . . but not too busy to alert the "advisor" of one of the players; Terrelle Pryor, so maybe they might do something about it. But even caught red handed, Tressel kept his job and garnered a couple days off early next season so he can watch his team play a couple of cup cakes!
What to do about San Diego? No big money there. No national championship hopes. No big national fan base. Just a little school with a big problem.
Do ya think that maybe, just maybe the NCAA will actually impose a sanction commensurate with the conduct, or will we see more finger waiving and verbal admonishments?
I don't know about you, but I'm concerned. Some where someone has to draw a line in the sand and stand up for something. If the NCAA doesn't deal with this one effectively, you will know the NCAA will lie down for just about anything.