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DETROIT -- Former University of Toledo running back Quinton Broussard pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to conspiracy to commit sports bribery.
Broussard, along with five other former UT athletes, were indicted in 2009 for participating in an alleged point-shaving scheme with two Detroit area gamblers. Another UT athlete, former basketball player Sammy Villegas, had previously reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in a separate but related case.
Broussard admitted Thursday to accepting between $2,000-5,000 in cash and free groceries from Ghazi "Gary" Manni in exchange for inside information on the Rockets from 2004-06. Broussard also admitted to accepting $500 for intentionally fumbling in the 2005 GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., with the intent of affecting the outcome of the contest. The Rockets still ended up defeating Texas-El Paso 45-13 in the bowl game.
Broussard is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 1 and faces up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
The indictment handed up by a grand jury on May 6, 2009 accused Manni and Mitchell Karam of paying money and providing other things of value to the Rocket athletes to influence the outcome of games. The men allegedly would then bet on those games, including $407,000 on UT basketball games from November, 2005, to December, 2006.
UT football players Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Jr., Adam Cuomo, Quinton Broussard, and former Rockets basketball player Anton Currie were also indicted.
McDougle said he received approximately $5,000 in cash, groceries, and money orders from Manni in exchange for inside information about the Rockets during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
“I needed the groceries and cash at the time,” McDougle told Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr., at his hearing. “It was a bad mistake.”
McDougle, now 26, said he could not pinpoint the month in 2004 when he first was introduced to Manni “by an older teammate” at a restaurant in Detroit, but added that they spoke “numerous times” on the phone and in person after that.
He said he received $100 to $200 worth of free groceries each time he visited Manni’s family grocery store in Detroit in addition to money orders for McDougle’s rent in Toledo and cash.
McDougle was first charged on March 29, 2007, in U.S. District Court in Detroit with conspiring and “knowingly carrying into effect” a scheme to influence UT football and men’s basketball games by bribery.
At the time, McDougle was still a member of the UT football team and would have been a senior that fall. He also was the only one charged in the alleged UT point-shaving scheme when the case was first presented and then later dropped as a procedural matter.
Because of the inquiry, McDougle was suspended for the 2007 season and never obtained his degree.
Judge Cook asked if McDougle had any knowledge of the reason for Manni wanting inside information on the Rockets.
“I really didn’t think about it,” said McDougle, who added that initially he thought Manni was just a fan. “[But] after a while, I figured it out.”
McDougle, who was the third UT athlete to enter a guilty plea for his role in the point-shaving scheme, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 22.