Wednesday, August 01, 2007

THE THREAD: FROM POINT-SHAVING TO LEG-STABBING


C&F is trying to post sparingly over the next few days so he can get some of the pending preview work done. So far, he still plans to preview each conference, each SEC team and a little bit more about the Gamecocks. Also, look for changes and a couple of new features in the days ahead. Not too much info now.

But The Thread must go on. And there is skullduggery! Scandal! And water balloons! (Believe it or not, a different water balloon controversy than yesterday's.)


Friends don't let friends throw water balloons.

We begin, though, with investigations -- new and ongoing.

And when you're under investigation, there's nothing better to do than talk to the local newspaper. Scooter McDougle, he of the point-shaving scandal at Toledo, held forth to The Blade about how innocent he is.

The University of Toledo football player who the FBI said earlier this year was at the center of an alleged point-shaving scheme proclaimed his innocence yesterday and said he never recruited other UT athletes to fix games.
Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Jr., 22, said the FBI mischaracterized his relationship with Detroit-area gambler Ghazi "Gary" Manni, who federal agents said in a sworn affidavit conspired with Mr. McDougle to affect the outcomes of UT football and basketball games. ...
He said he and Mr. Manni were friends and admitted to going to dinner and to a casino with him, but claimed he never shaved points or asked other UT athletes to do so. ...
Mr. McDougle said he did once meet Mr. Manni at a casino, but was only there to "play some games" and said he paid for those games with "my own money."

In the whole article, which is far too exhaustive to even just drop quote all the relevant paragraphs here. Suffice it to say, the FBI isn't at liberty to talk too much, and it's questionable that McDougle should be. (The young man does have a lawyer at this point, doesn't he?)

In any case, McDougle's argument is that he either (a) played well or (b) was injured when the alleged point-shaving occured, which made it hard for him to do so.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is looking into whether college athletics departments improperly allowed lenders to use logos and the like to hawk their wares. The defense offered by Kansas, the one school the AP could reach, are weak to say the least.

"If they had contacted us, we could have given them a very reasonable explanation, as I'm sure a lot of schools could have," said University of Kansas Athletic Director Jim Marchiony. "Kansas athletics does not have a direct relationship with UFS. UFS has a direct relationship with a Kansas athletic rights holder, which was ESPN Regional -- but that has now been taken over by Host Communications."
He said the university doesn't provide students names to the lender or receive any payment from UFS. He called the relationship a sponsorship, which allows the lender to use Kansas logos "just like the local grocery store that signs an agreement with Host."

Because there's no real difference between buying a rutabaga and taking out a student loan.

Elsewhere:
--Water balloons cause even more trouble, this time for a BYU player who got a bit too irritated at a liquid assailant.

BYU linebacker Terrance Hooks pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident in April in which he kicked in two apartment doors while looking for a person who reportedly threw a water balloon at his girlfriend from a third-story window.

Priorities, Mr. Hooks, priorities.
--The Northern Colorado punter stabbed in the leg, allegedly by his backup, broke into tears on the stand during his testimony. There are also vague allegations -- which the judge apparently found not very credible -- that prosecutors were trying to fudge on the qualifications of a witness.
--And New Jersey feels good about Rutgers' chances for an invite should the Big Ten choose to expand and Notre Dame turns them down, as expected. One key point that it's hard to disagree with: Rutgers couldn't say no.

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