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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Published: Friday, 5/8/2009

Don't assume the worst news is over for UT

An athletic official from the University of Toledo took a deep sigh Wednesday evening and told me, "At least it's over."

Hmm. I wonder.

An indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit was fairly specific regarding wagering by two Michigan men on UT men's basketball games and named three former Rocket basketball players who allegedly took part in a point-shaving scheme. A fourth wasn't named, but he reportedly has copped a plea deal in the case for which he will be sentenced next month.

All four were players who, based on roles and playing time, might have influenced the final score of a game.

Remember, though, that when this story first broke two years ago it was considered a football story.

Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, a running back, was arrested in April, 2007. The charges were dropped a month later, but he was renamed in this week's indictment along with ex-Rockets Quinton Broussard and Adam Cuomo, who allegedly admitted to being the ringleader of this whole thing.

Frankly, I'm not sure that those three football players could have influenced the outcome of an intra-squad scrimmage.

So I wonder if this is indeed over.

The indictment, which specified a series of basketball games, did not go into similar detail regarding football, although the 2005 and '06 seasons would fall under the FBI's timeline. Based on previous reports, it is believed that three games from '05 came under scrutiny by the feds. Toledo posted lopsided wins in two of them and was beaten soundly in the other.

Cuomo, whose lone season as a letter winner was 2002, was long gone from the UT football team by then. McDougle, who finished the '04 season with a flurry before suffering a serious knee injury in the Mid-American Conference title game, was a nonfactor on special teams in just two early season games in '05. A year later, he played in three games and carried the ball a total of eight times.

Broussard did play in all 12 games in '05 as a back-up running back and special team player. It would be hard to point any fingers at his performance, considering he averaged 7.2 yards per rush and 24 yards per kickoff return. He was not on the team in '06.

So, one of the players indicted wasn't on the team either season, another barely played, and the third was a back-up, one of several, who averaged five carries per game behind a 1,300-yard rusher in 2005.

Granted, they could have provided information that gamblers might find valuable - who was injured, who was battling the flu, who was having academic problems, who was in the coaches' doghouse, etc. - while wagering on a game.

But if this is, as presented, a point-shaving scheme, would we not presume there were players involved who were actually in a position to shave points? The three guys indicted don't exactly qualify.

While mulling that over, consider also what the NCAA might have to say about all this in regards to institutional control. A UT spokesman said the school has kept the NCAA informed during the course of the FBI investigation. That's dandy, but it hardly means the governing body of college athletics is going to shrug its shoulders and look the other way when all is said and done.

And, unless I'm missing something, all may not be said and done.

Taking a deep sigh and saying, "At least it's over," might be wishful thinking.

Contact Blade sports columnist

Dave Hackenberg at:

dhack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6398.



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