Delving into the history of gambling and corruption in intercollegiate sports, Cheating the Spread recounts all of the major gambling scandals in college football and basketball. Digging through court records, newspapers, government documents, and university archives and conducting private interviews, Albert J. Figone finds that game rigging has been pervasive and nationwide throughout most of the sports' history. The insidious practice has spread to implicate not only bookies and unscrupulous gamblers but also college administrators, athletic organizers, coaches, fellow students, and the athletes themselves.
Naming the players, coaches, gamblers, and go-betweens involved, Figone discusses numerous college basketball and football games reported to have been fixed and describes the various methods used to gain unfair advantage, inside information, or undue profit. His survey of college football includes early years of gambling on games between established schools such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard; Notre Dame's All-American halfback and skilled gambler George Gipp; and the 1962 allegations of insider information between Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and former Georgia coach James Wallace "Wally" Butts; and many other recent incidents. Notable events in basketball include the 1951 scandal involving City College of New York and six other schools throughout the East Coast and the Midwest; the 1961 point-shaving incident that put a permanent end to the Dixie Classic tournament; the 1978 scheme in which underworld figures recruited and bribed several Boston College players to ensure a favorable point spread; the 1994-95 Northwestern scandal in which players bet against their own team; and other recent examples of compromised gameplay and gambling.
About the Author
Albert J. Figone has seen sports from all sides. He is a professor emeritus of kinesiology and a former head baseball and assistant football coach at Humboldt State University, and he previously coached football, baseball, and track at California high schools. He lives in Folsom, California.
Table of Contents
1 Creating a Game for Gamblers: The Rise of College Basketball 1
2 The Golden Age of Gambling: College Basketball in the Postwar Years 12
3 Stinking It Up: The 1951 College Basketball Gambling Scandal 24
4 Do No Evil, See No Evil, and Hear No Evil: Coaching and Presiding over College Basketball Scandals in the 1950s 41
5 "Do You Have Anything for Me?": Gambling Scandals in College Football from the Big Three to Bear Bryant 61
6 College Basketball's Incurable Disease: The 1961 Basketball Scandal 87
7 Winning in Smaller Ways: The 1978 Boston College Scandal 110
8 Student-Athletes and Campus Bookies: Basketball Scandals of the 1980s and 1990s 128
9 A Continuing Nightmare: Gambling and Fixing in College Football, 1990-2010 137
Afterword: When the Cost of Winning at All Costs Is Too High 151