University of Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon has been fired over troubling gambling allegations
Alabama fired Thursday after baseball coach Brad Bohannon reported suspicious bets with his teamwith the school saying he “violated the standards, duties and responsibilities expected of university staff.”
No details were given as to why Bohannon was sacked after five years in office, but the sacking came three days after a report of suspicious betting warned Ohio’s top gaming regulator has banned state-licensed sportsbooks from accepting bets on baseball games in Alabama. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have since followed suit.
ESPN later reported Thursday that the sportsbook’s surveillance video at the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark indicated the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time. ESPN cited several anonymous sources with direct information about the investigation.
Alabama said that athletic director Greg Byrne has begun the process of firing Bohannon and that pitching coach Jason Jackson will serve as interim head coach beginning with Thursday night’s home game against Vanderbilt.
“There is currently no reason to believe student athletes are involved,” a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing investigation by the school.
The NCAA prohibits athletes and athletic employees from wagering on games “and persons involved in or associated with sports wagering of any kind relating to intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competitions from providing information.”
The NCAA said Thursday it is committed to protecting athletes and the “integrity of competition” and is monitoring the case. A sports betting expert said this could be an eye-opener for college sports.
“It’s going to raise a lot of questions,” said John Holden, an associate professor at the State of Oklahoma. “I think we would be naïve if this was the only incident of this nature that has happened. When this is associated with the coach, the consequences serve as a warning to the rest of varsity sport that this is not allowed and it will be dealt with.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement also ordered sportsbooks to suspend betting on Crimson Tide baseball games. Matthew Holt, the president of US Integrity, declined to give details about the case and the warning signs, but said it had started betting on sports.
“The licensed sportsbook operator reported the abnormal activity and forwarded it to us,” he told AP.US Integrity, then alerted surrounding states, taking responses and reporting to Ohio regulators, who took over the investigation, Holt said.
“One was in a parlay involving the game between LSU and Alabama, and then there was another straight-up (money line) bet,” Johns told the news outlet. “I was told it was a big bet involving LSU-Alabama.”
Holden said a five- or six-figure bet on a top-ranked LSU football team wouldn’t draw much attention. But he said he believes betting limits are placed on college baseball because there isn’t much betting activity in the sport and not as much information is available that could affect betting lines.
“I can’t see you making any significant amounts of money outside of Louisiana,” Holden said. “Even in Louisiana, a four-figure bet would be about what a sportsbook would charge.”