USD Basketball Down, Not Necessarily Out

Recent history suggests USD's program won't suffer from game fixing scandal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC San Diego
    University of San Diego.

    Under the spotlight of a game-fixing scandal, USD's basketball program doesn't look too good right now. However, the NCAA may not see it the same way as the general public.

    When a collegiate sports program is accused of any kind of impropriety, one of the first thoughts fans have is, "What's the penalty?"

    The NCAA has several punishments of varying degree, from sanctions to loss of scholarships to shutting the whole thing down for a couple of years (the dreaded "Death Penalty").

    Former USD Athletes, Coach Tied to Bribery Sting

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    10 defendants allegedly conspired to bribe basketball players to alter the outcome of games so the defendants could profit by betting on games at Las Vegas casinos, according to the indictment.

    The last time we saw a situation like this, the NCAA decided to do nothing.

    In the mid-1990's, two players from Arizona State University's basketball team admitted to point shaving to influence the final score of games based on the point spread. While the individuals involved did time in federal prison, the Sun Devil basketball team faced no punishment from the NCAA.

    "To date, there is no information . . . indicating that the institution knew or should have known" about the fixed games, said Bill Saum, the NCAA's agent and gambling issues representative, in 1997. "What occurred is the result of a societal problem, not just an Arizona State problem."

    That sentiment was echoed Monday in the USD situation.

    "This is not an indictment on the University of San Diego but rather a few individuals who chose to do the wrong thing who were affiliated with the university," said one federal investigator.

    So, if we use recent history as a guide, there's a strong possibility the NCAA will let the legal process run its course and allow the punishments handed down by investigators suffice.

    Head coach Bill Grier will then have to deal with fixing the stigma of cheating his program will have, unless he feels it's too big a task to undertake, which is absolutely understandable.

    ASU's former Bill Frieder tried to come back despite the stigma and failed, resigning after the point shaving incident, and has not held a head-coaching job since.