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Friday, August 8, 2008

Gambling Problems

Interesting story reported on today that the Big Ten has found no evidence of cheating from referees involved in two games last season.

The story originated from an investigation by Yahoo! sports that mentioned one the referees in both games had filed for bankruptcy, and two of his creditors were casinos.

In the wake of the Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA, I think it's an interesting story to follow. I think the problem here is more about perception than anything. College football and the NBA probably have more compaints from fans about officiating than any sports, and when you give those same fans a bit of evidence, that spark of doubt can quickly become an inferno.

College football, I think, is also especially susceptable because there's so much money bet on games, and there's a bigger, lower-paid group of officials involved.

Add to that story this week about a former Toledo basketball player being charged with point shaving, and there might be the beginnings of an on-going story here.

Hopefully these are isolated incidents -- as I would bet they are, no pun intended -- but again, it's as much about the court of public opinion than what happens in any actual courts.

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