Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Is College Basketball Corrupt?

It is estimated that over $3 billion was bet on college basketball in March alone. With that much money at stake there is a lot of incentive to find weak, exploitable souls to fix games. It's happened before.

One of those weak souls may be PAC-12 head of officials Ed Rush. During the PAC-12 tournament last month, Rush addressed a meeting of officials and instructed them to ring up or run Arizona head coach Sean Miller. Sure enough, the very next day in the semi-final game between Arizona and big money darling UCLA referees rang up Coach Miller on the ticky-tackyest technical foul in the history of basketball. The technical fouls were the margin of victory for UCLA.

I have absolutely no evidence that Ed Rush bet on the game or was in the pocket of Vegas bookies. No evidence has come up to show that any money changed hands. It could be that the PAC-12 is right, that Rush's instructions were just a sick joke. It's also possible that Rush is not corrupt but, as PAC-12 referees confidentially say, he was just being an obscene bully.

Still, the affair stinks.
  • The PAC-12 tournament was held in Las Vegas, making it extra convenient for bookies wishing to fix games.
  • The head of officials clearly expressed his desired outcome the day before the game was played and repeated it the following morning.
  • The head of officials desired outcome occurred as instructed.
  • The PAC-12 investigation was neither public nor comprehensive. It could just as easily be a cover-up as an actual investigation.
From the point of view that I don't wager on sports and am barely interested in college hoops, I am unconcerned whether or not the sport is a cesspool of corruption. But there are people, especially in law enforcement, who are interested and they probably ought to take a really close look at Ed Rush and the whole sewer that is gambling in major college sports.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction to this story was -- This would be the same Miller who coached a team that won because three referees refused to see what was obvious in the last shot in regulation against Colorado. It’s hard for me to see that the P12 officials were against him.

A knowledgeable person on P12 basketball replied to this: "This is assuming a level of competence that P12 officials rarely show."