The NCAA announced on Thursday that the former head baseball coach of the University of Alabama had intentionally given insider information to a gambler who had wagered against the Crimson Tide in an SEC game last spring. The NCAA also sanctioned the university.
On April 28, 2023, at an Alabama-LSU baseball game, former Alabama coach Brad Bohannon—who was sacked in May—failed to take part in the NCAA’s investigation of suspicious betting.
Bohannon was given a 15-year show-cause order after the NCAA determined that he had broken rules regarding wagering and moral behavior. Bohannon’s employment by an NCAA school is subject to a “100% of the baseball regular season suspension for the first five seasons of his employment.”
The university was hit with a $5,000 fine, three years of probation, and a requirement to hire a company to give coaches, athletic directors, and student-athletes thorough gambling instruction.
The NCAA claims that on April 28, 2003, Bohannon sent the following communication to a person he knew was placing a wager on an Alabama baseball game: “[Pupil-athlete] is definitely out… Please let me know when I may inform [the rival team]… Go quickly,” The NCAA claims that Bohannon texted the bettor.
The bettor, identified by the NCAA as Bert Eugene Neff, tried to spend $100,000 on the Alabama game after obtaining the information from Bohannon, but the sportsbook’s employees only allowed him to wager $15,000. Indiana and Ohio casino officials say the wager was made at the BetMGM sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
The starting pitcher for Alabama was scratched before the game, which LSU won 8–6.
Vince Nicastro, the deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Big East, who presided over the panel that evaluated the matter, said, “The panel is deeply troubled by Bohannon’s unethical behavior. Integrity of games is of the utmost importance to NCAA members.” “Educators, student-athletes, and administrators have access to data that is beneficial to bettors. We hold our members to the highest standards of integrity and sportsmanship, therefore it is particularly outrageous when those with the power to affect game outcomes communicate that knowledge improperly for the purpose of sports betting.”
Neff, a businessman and youth baseball instructor from Indiana, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to federal obstruction charges pertaining to the investigation into the baseball game between Alabama and LSU. The bettor in question has been identified by Indiana and Ohio gambling regulators as Neff.
In September, Neff’s lawyer Jeff Baldwin told ESPN that his client had wagered just once on LSU, “a parlay.”
But according to the plea deal, Neff gambled on the game again with a different bookmaker and gave the information to at least four other gamblers, according to federal prosecutors.
According to the plea deal made public on Wednesday, Neff faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a fine of no more than $250,000 for destroying evidence, interfering with witnesses, and giving false statements to the FBI.
A ban on Neff from the state’s gaming establishment has been announced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and the Indiana Gaming Commission because of the suspicious betting. Neff notified the OCCC that an appeal is planned.
Bohannon, the Alabama coach from 2017 until his dismissal in May 2023, will also be included on the list of involuntary exclusions for the OCCC.