NCAA to look at San Diego case when FBI finishes

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA plans to conduct its own investigation into an alleged basketball gambling ring at the University of San Diego but will wait until the FBI completes its work.

On Tuesday, NCAA vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach called the allegations sad, acknowledging the serious nature of the charges that were unsealed one day earlier in San Diego.

The accused include Brandon Johnson, the school’s career scoring leader who is now playing in the NBA Development League, former assistant coach Thaddeus Brown and former player Brandon Dowdy.

Eight of 10 people charged pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court. Six of the eight defendants were granted bail ranging from $35,000 to $50,000.

A detention hearing was expected later this week for Steve Goria and Paul Thweni, who prosecutors say are considered flight risks because they’re primary defendants. Johnson, who was arrested in Texas, was arraigned there Monday. Remaining defendant Jake Salter is set to be arraigned Friday.

All are charged with conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conducting an illegal gambling business and distributing marijuana. If convicted, they each face up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines.

Federal authorities have charged them with running a sports betting business to affect the outcome of games.

“The FBI is leading the investigation and we will stand by and let them do their work because they have more tools in their tool boxes to get at what’s going on than we do,” Lach told The Associated Press. “After they conclude their investigation, we will begin ours.”

Lach said FBI officials contacted college sports’ largest governing body before the indictments were made public Monday. She declined to say when the NCAA learned of the case.

Point-shaving scandals have occurred before in college sports, but they are rare.

The most notable occurred in the early 1950s when players at 1950 NCAA champion CCNY, Kentucky and other schools were found to have accepted payoffs from gamblers to ensure their teams did not cover the point spread.

Since then, there have been other point-shaving scandals involving college basketball teams at schools such as Boston College, Arizona State and Northwestern.

The NCAA is using everything at its disposal to root out potential problems.

Lach acknowledged that the NCAA has “relationships” with people in Las Vegas who contact the governing body when there are unusual betting patterns. Typically, for college basketball games, that involves a three-point swing once the opening line is established, she said.

“They help us monitor the lines so that if something doesn’t look right, we flag it,” Lach said. “I’d say that happens not more than once a year, and most times, it’s where a line moved and there’s an explanation that doesn’t involve point-shaving.”

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