Former Auburn guard Varez Ward has been indicted on two counts in federal court for conspiracy to defraud and bribery in a sports contest.
Translation: Ward was indicted for shaving points while a member of the Tigers.
Ward was suspended along with then-teammate Chris Denson on February 25th, 2012, for what was termed at the time a violation of team rules. But two weeks later, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson had a chance to do some digging and had discovered that Ward and Denson, who was reinstated four days later, were actually suspended after Auburn was tipped off to the potential point-shaving.
There were two games in question: a 68-50 loss to Alabama on Feb, 7 and a 56-53 loss to Arkansas on Jan. 25. Alabama covered the spread, but Auburn was a 9½-point underdog to the Razorbacks.
A couple of weeks back, the details of the point-shaving case involving Brandon Johnson were made public. He was getting around $1,000 per game playing for a bad WCC, and the four fixed games generated upwards of $120,000. Auburn is in the SEC. I know it’s vain to blockquote myself, but I’m doing it anyway:
For any college kid, $1,000 is a lot of money, let alone someone that doesn’t come from a financially stable back ground. Now imagine that a college basketball player on a low-major team — a program that doesn’t get much media attention — from a poor family is offered that much money to shave a couple of points. He’s not throwing the game, he’s just making a bad pass or missing a shot intentionally here and there to ensure that his team doesn’t cover the spread.
That money can stock your fridge and let you buy a round of shots at a campus bar while also helping to make sure your parents aren’t late on a car payment or rent — and it doesn’t cost your team a win.
Not the easiest thing to say no to, is it?
And with the number of Division I basketball teams creeping ever so close to 350, and with each of those teams playing more than 30 games a season, there are more than 10,000 college basketball games a year.
How many do you think are fixed?
Well, how many?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.