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Yet Another College Basketball Scandal

In June 2013, a former Auburn Tigers point guard was arrested and charged with bribery and conspiracy. Prosecutors allege that 23-year-old Varez Ward attempted to fix several 2012 games in a point-shaving scheme and tried to convince teammates to participate in the plan. In a January 25 matchup against Arkansas, Mr. Ward only played 19 seconds before leaving the game with an apparent knee injury. In a February 7 loss to Alabama, Mr. Ward scored three points and had six turnovers in 17 minutes. In the three games between these two contests, Mr. Ward scored 53 points off the bench. 

Point-shaving scandals 

Point-shaving scandals have a long history, dating back to 1951 and the City College of New York. That team won both the NCAA tournament and NIT tournament, but 32 players were named in a point-shaving scandal the next year. Point-shaving is common in basketball, because of the fast tempo and high scores. Gamblers induce players to intentionally miss shots or commit fouls to ensure that the team fails to cover the point spread. If Team A is favored by nine points, a gambler stands to win a substantial amount of money if Team A only wins by six points. 

If you are named in a point-shaving indictment, it is imperative that you contact a New Jersey bribery defense attorney right away. The penalties in such cases are extremely severe. Because point-shaving only affects the final score and not the winner or loser, the young participants in these schemes may not fully understand what they are doing, or they may be easily misled by gamblers into believing that point-shaving is not really wrong. The lack of intent, or at least the government’s inability to prove intent beyond any reasonable doubt, is often the best defense in these cases. 

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