Brandon Johnson, Carlin Hughes

Three more connected to San Diego sports bribery case plead guilty


With three more figures in the sports bribery case that impacted the San Diego basketball program pleading guilty, more details have emerged in regards to how the fixing of games took place.

Steve Goria, Richard Garmo and Paul Thweni entered guilty pleas according to Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune, admitting to both bribing former USD point guard Brandon Johnson and attempting to bribe Ken Rancifer, one of Johnson’s teammates.

Their pleas mean that six of the ten defendants in the case have plead guilty, and Goria, Garmo and Thweni are scheduled to be sentenced (maximum of five years) on October 12.

The case began in 2009 and had nothing to do with the fixing of games, as the FBI was looking into marijuana trafficking and illegal sports bookmaking.

But in the following year an informant alerted the FBI to these three making money off of fixed basketball games during the 2009-10 college basketball season.

[Then USD assistant T.J.] Brown, according to the informant, was paid $10,000 to fix at least two USD games that season. The informant accompanied Thweni to Las Vegas to place bets on a Feb. 25, 2010, game against Loyola Marymount using $40,000 worth of winning tickets from an earlier USD game. When Loyola Marymount won, the bettors claimed to have made $70,000.

At a meeting a few days later at a San Diego restaurant, one of the affidavits said an FBI audio recording picked up Garmo saying: “The last game we bet, he (Brown) told me to bet the house.”

According to the story, Garmo noted in a meeting with the FBI that it was important that they get the point guard to go along with the plan, as he’s the one who ultimately controls the action.

That’s where Johnson, who left San Diego as the school’s all-time leading scorer, factored into the equation.

Goria, Garmo and Thweni all admitted in their plea agreements to placing bets on the Loyola Marymount game at Las Vegas casinos and having “influenced or ‘fixed’ the outcome of the basketball game by paying money as a bribe to Brandon Johnson,” a senior point guard on the team.

Oddsmakers had USD as a 3½-point favorite in the 2010 game against visiting Loyola Marymount at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, and with four minutes remaining the Toreros led 65-62. They lost 72-69.

Johnson, who 12 days earlier had become the school’s all-time leading scorer, made just one of six shots and had five turnovers, including a missed shot and a turnover in the final minute.

For his part Johnson has adamantly denied altering the result of a game, but he did admit to taking $2,500 to $3,000 from Brown for his part in the scheme.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.