Problems with gambling ‘scare you to death'
Big 12 working with Vegas firm that monitors betting trends

By John Helsley Published: October 24, 2007
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"W
e don't want that kind of information being shared, obviously.”

Elsewhere, conferences and schools haven't been so fortunate.

Just last March, the FBI alleged it had uncovered a conspiracy between a gambler and a football player at Toledo to influence the outcomes of games.

Some cases have gone further.

The NBA suffered a public relations hit when former referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to felony charges of gambling and wire fraud last August. The NHL, too, took a hit when former Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet was accused of financing a nationwide gambling ring and pleaded guilty to gambling-related charges last year.

In 2001, Florida basketball player Teddy Dupay was declared ineligible for his senior season after admitting to violating team rules about betting on sports.

Northwestern has been stung twice by noted scandals. In 2001, former football player Brain Ballarini pled guilty to gambling charges and admitted to running betting operations at Northwestern and Colorado. In a related matter, two Northwestern basketball players admitted they tried to fix games. In 1994, a Northwestern football player was suspended for gambling, but denied he fumbled intentionally at the goal line in a game against Iowa.

In 1996, then-Boston College football coach Dan Henning heard after a 45-17 loss to Syracuse that some of his players may have bet against their own team. Eventually, 13 BC players were suspended and six were banned.

These and similar situations, where unsavory characters coerce college athletes to affect a game's outcome, concern coaches most.

"It's real scary to me,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "You've got to protect the game.”

OU and OSU have concerted efforts to educate athletes and others on gambling issues through pamphlets, videos and speakers.

"It's just educating them on just what a horrible place and position to put yourself in,” Stoops said, "the ramifications of it and just how easy it can happen.”