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Published: Wednesday, 8/13/2008

FBI says charges against UT's Villegas related to McDougle investigation

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Villegas Villegas
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

The point-shaving charges filed against former University of Toledo men's basketball player Sammy Villegas are related to last year's gambling charges against former Rocket football player Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Jr., according to the FBI.

"The charges against Mr. Villegas are part of a larger investigation that encompasses Mr. McDougle, and that investigation is ongoing," said Sandra Berchtold, an FBI spokesperson in Detroit.

Scooter McDougle Scooter McDougle
JETTA FRASER/THE TOLEDO BLADE / THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo

For months, UT athletic officials have said there are no widespread gambling problems with its athletes and that only one indivudual on one team was the issue. But with the acknowledgement that federal officials are still investigating former athletes in two of UT's marquee sports, the dark cloud that has hung over the university's sports programs for more than 16 months remains.

Mr. Villegas is accused of taking bribes to shave points during games in the

2004-05 and 2005-06 basketball seasons - his junior and senior years at UT.

The charges against him were made public last week.

Mr. McDougle was charged March 29, 2007, with betting on a UT football game and recruiting other Rockets athletes - both football and basketball players

- to shave points. Those charges were dropped April 18, 2007, but attorneys on both sides at the time said the investigation was still ongoing.

Months later, Mr. McDougle's father said federal prosecutors told Mr.

McDougle's attorney that he would not have any further charges against him.

And this week, that attorney, James Burdick, said he's been given no indication that Mr. McDougle was connected with the charges filed against Mr. Villegas.

"I have not heard from anyone, the district attorney or the FBI, that there was anything new of relevance against my client," Mr. Burdick said. "Nobody like that has indicated they suspect Scooter is connected to [the charges against Mr. Villegas]."

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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