ESPN investigating possible OSU point shaving scandal

Submitted by The Blue in Ohio on June 23rd, 2011 at 5:09 PM

I live just outside Columbus and heard on the radio today that ESPN is in town investigating a possible point shaving scandal. It includes only former players but didn't say any specifics. Just something to keep an eye out for.



June 23rd, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

I want THE Ohio State University to be exposed for every bit of cheating it has ever done.  I want John Lennon's "Instant Karma" to be their de facto theme song for the next ten years.  They cheated for at least ten years; it's about time they paid for it.

I want the scandal to be so bad that even parents in Ohio tell their kids not to play there.  They thought the Ed Martin scandal was funny?  They thought "stretchgate" was funny?  They thought the Michigan coaching change fiasco was funny?  Great.  

Now who's laughing?


Zone Left

June 23rd, 2011 at 11:26 PM ^

Yeah, they were something like 11-2 against the spread last year. Tressel's reputation actually made (past tense!) his teams good bets. The lines are set to get action on both sides and Tressel's rep for holding his teams back pushed point spreads down.


June 23rd, 2011 at 5:21 PM ^

The majority of sports fans don't really care about players getting extra benefits.  It does nothing to interrupt our enjoyment of the game.  But point shaving?  That's another matter entirely and it's not taken lightly by sports fans.


June 23rd, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

My head hurts just thinking about an OSU fan arguing that if it wasn't for the point shaving scandals of the 2000's then OSU would have won multiple national championships...


June 23rd, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

It appears the point shaving is tied to basketball, but there aren't any concrete articles. Apparently Ohio State didn't cover the spread in quite a few games, by close margins, and in a lot of those games they were missing easy baskets late, and consistently missing the front end of 1 and 1's

Zone Left

June 23rd, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

Basketball would be better for Michigan. It points to Lack of Institutional Control, whereas Pryor, who would be the most likely culprit at QB just looks like him being an ass.

It's hard to shave points in football--too many people need to be in on it.


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:34 PM ^

I don't think the NCAA would get involved even if point shaving was discovered, unless it was part of a larger LOIC charge (which it might well be, given that was the same time that O'Brien was paying players). I know that Northwestern didn't suffer any NCAA consequences for their mid 90s point shaving scandals (Dennis Lundy and Dion Lee).


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

I don't remember the specifics of the Northwestern case, but I seem to recall Arizona State getting in trouble.  Doesn't the NCAA pretty much have to investigate?  Point-shaving gets right down to the integrity of the games themselves.


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:14 PM ^

Neither Northwestern nor Arizona State got any kind of NCAA sanctions. Both those situations were explained as the actions of rogue players either gambling themselves or being paid by gamblers.

I think the NCAA would investigate, but I don't think they'd hand down penalties, unless OSU had gamblers around the program and should have known about it (ie, kind of a Reggie Bush thing).


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:28 PM ^

I can't believe point shaving apparently isn't a big deal to the NCAA. Of all the things to care about, going back and seeing NCAA games that were fradulaunt should be a bigger deal than cars or cash, IMO.

If you're going to hand down program sanctions for money changing hands for playing, shouldn't it be worse when the payments involve fixed games?


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:40 PM ^

I think most examples have been individual cases that the universities have acted very aggressively in cooperating with the NCAA and FBI when suspicions became known. I think the logic is (and I'm just guessing here) is that illegal benefits grant a competitive advantage and call amateurism into question, and academic fraud challenges the ideal of the student-athlete while point shaving is a criminal act of an individual.

Now if a coach or administrator was aware of point shaving and didn't cooperate with authorities, or if they investigated and found out a point shaving athlete was suddently waving unexplained cash around and didn't ask questions, that would likely bring the NCAA hammer down.

One of the articles I looked at in re the Northwestern thing mentioned that the NCAA has connections in Vegas that alert them anytime they see unusual gambling activity or unusual line swings. This would suggest that the NCAA sees point shaving as something that member institutions are not likely to detect. In other words, the NCAA does regard it as a big deal, but a deal somewhat out of the normal scope of compliance departments.

Zone Left

June 23rd, 2011 at 9:19 PM ^

No one is getting the death penalty, regardless of what anyone would like.

Point shaving is kind of a weird issue. By its very nature, it's going to be limited to a very small number of people and no one in the administration is going to know. The only person who could predictably influence a game's outcome is the starting QB (Pryor in OSU's case) and at this point, OSU can probably throw up its collective hands and say Pryor is a sociopath. If OSU's starting point guard was point shaving, it would be another data point to say the athletic department is totally out of control, which would in theory open OSU up to LOIC and the most severe penalties.


June 23rd, 2011 at 5:55 PM ^

RIght.  This is why USC got nailed so hard--Reggie Bush was the only football player against whom the NCAA allegations stuck, but then there was OJ Mayo in hoops (and also the women's tennis team!).  Had the violations been limited to just one sport they sanctions likely would have been much less.