By Albe Carbo
The sports industry is no stranger to scandals, with a few occurring on a fairly regular basis. But there are those that are forgotten in a month, and those that are talked about for decades. We’re looking at sports betting scandals so big that they shook the industry, toppled once respected names, and made fans question their heroes.
Pete Rose And The Endless Appeals
When talking about scandals, the name Pete Rose is almost always mentioned. Though, it isn’t just that Rose fell from grace that makes the story so compelling, but that it is a scandal still unfolding to this very day. Rose was first recognised as a star player, having performed admirably for a full 24 seasons. On the field he was always respected. Once he got off the field, his fall from grace was swift.
As manager of the Cincinnati Reds it turned out that he was a regular, illegal bettor. Most shocking is that he had been doing so for years, often putting money on his own team. After being banned, he denied putting down bets for years, only to finally admit it in an autobiography years later. He has also filed for appeals against his ban so many times as to make the situation comical. His current appeal, the fifth, has still not been processed.
CCNY Bombshell Disaster
As long as we’re talking the biggest sports betting scandals in history, who can forget perhaps the biggest of all? City College Of New York (CCNY.) In 1950 the college team blew minds by winning both the NCAA and NIT, only for an investigation to turn the college’s powerful reputation into mud.
It turned out that a total of 33 players across 7 schools were all participating in a massive bookmaking conspiracy. They had purposefully been shaving points during games, all in aid of fixing betting numbers. In the aftermath a long list of colleges were disgraced, many of which still deemphasise sports to this very day.
The Referee’s Dark Secrets
Tim Donaghy is another name synonymous with live betting scandals. After overseeing an incredible 800 games across 14 seasons, it was brought to light that the referee was involved in a bookmaking scandal that truly shook the industry. Apparently Donaghy would get paid if matches went a predetermined way, with accomplices wagering on matches he was directly involved in.
It wasn’t technically proven that the referee ever purposefully altered games, but there can be no question that the results of over 800 matches are highly suspicious. Donaghy spent 15 months in prison and paid a fine of $500,000. A sentence far too light, according to many sports fanatics around the world.
A Story Worthy Of A Film
The 1978 story of Ricky Kuhn is so twisting and complicated that it deserves a film. Though, it turns out that at least one person involved did have a film made about them; Henry Hill. Goodfellas is based around Hill, though the movie didn’t make any mention of the massive basketball scandal.
As far as the scandal itself goes, Kuhn was involved with various shady individuals who bet on matches. His part was, of course, to shave off points in hopes of making the bets pay out. Hill financed the scheme, a fact that only came out years later. Either way, of the multiple bets that were placed, none ever actually paid out given the unpredictable nature of the plan. Kuhn, sadly, spent 12 years in jail after refusing to cooperate with prosecutors.