Disney used to have this great cartoon that was on in the afternoons called Recess. It was about an elementary class of characters that personified every stereotype in the book including a group of mean girls that had their own special tagline:
It’s almost like you can’t turn around without coming face to face with scandal either in professional sports or in the college ranks. The big story has been the New Orleans Saints, but that one is likely going to get brushed to the side. While they may be stupid for doing what they did, it wasn’t criminal.
The Auburn Basketball program...Now that’s another story!
The investigation is still ongoing, but it appears that at least one member of the Auburn basketball team could be involved in a point-shaving scandal. That means FBI. That means federal charges. That means someone’s happy behind is going to jail.
Varez Ward is the leading candidate for that dubious honor. The suspended point guard is accused of shaving points in at least two games so far, a loss to Arkansas on January 25 and another to Alabama on February 7.
You would think that some guys would learn from recent history if not history in general. People are looking for college programs to screw up, and since it is nothing for many if not most to test the limits with recruiting and everything else they do when an investigator starts to poke around it isn’t hard to find something.
If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent the mess at Ohio State should have been. If not that then the fiasco in Miami where the convicted Ponzi scheme runner Nevin Shapiro singing his guts out about the money that he showered players with.
Do we need to mention the Penn State scandal? Or the Duke Lacrosse case? Or the Baylor Bears murder/drug scandal?
The scandals and warnings are endless. Even if you just wanted to stick to point shaving in college basketball: Several players on the San Diego State team in 2010; Steven Smith from Arizona State in 1994; Northwestern basketball, also in 1994; John Williams from Tulane in 1985; Rocco and Anthony Perla in 1978-79; plenty in the 1960s as well as the 1950s.
The most infamous one came in 1951. After a player on Manhattan College’s team refused to participate he reported the bribe. When all was said and done there were over 35 players from several teams—including ’50 NCAA Champ CCNY and Kentucky-- involved in fixing 86 games over a four-year span; 20 players were eventually charged and indicted.
With the widespread history of cheating in college sports one would think that some of these guys would learn—don’t do it; you will get caught. History is proof positive of that so why oh why do so many of you keep trying to cheat?
So how can we stop this from happening so much? Well, the NCAA could up the amount that players get in scholarships to help them cover minor miscellaneous expenses. They could remind these guys that there is a virtual goldmine waiting for them in the NBA (do you really want to go to jail when the NBA and millions is so close?) One and done if you got game!
I’m not sure how this would happen, but what the NCAA needs to do is force these guys to go to class. College is supposed to be an institute of higher learning. Perhaps if more of these guys exercise their brains as much as they do their jump shots they’d be smart enough to think twice before getting involved with some silly gamblers.
At least we'll have something to talk about other than the Saints and Peyton Manning for a while.