UM probes football gambling

April 14, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

The University of Maryland is conducting an investigation into gambling on the Terps football team, athletic director Debbie Yow confirmed last night.

The office of the president, the athletic department, legal counsel from the university and an attorney from a New York law firm are conducting the investigation, which began March 6 after allegations were made that a member of the football team had gambled on intercollegiate sports events.

It is against NCAA rules for athletes to bet on college athletics.

"This is a matter that the university takes seriously," Yow said. "We've notified the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Yow said that there are no allegations that Maryland players bet on their own games.

"It has not been alleged, nor is there any evidence, that gambling influenced the outcome of any athletic competition of any sort."

Yow said that the investigation should be completed in several weeks, and that the findings will then be sent to the NCAA.

As a result of gambling among athletes at Northwestern University last fall, two athletes were sanctioned by the NCAA and held out of athletic contests, a football player for one game and a basketball player for several games.

Asked if there were evidence of an organized gambling ring among the Maryland football team, Yow said: "I can't comment about the review until it's completed."

Jamie Bragg, a Terps co-captain this past season, was among the players who have been interviewed during the investigation. He verified that players bet on professional football and college basketball, but said he saw no involvement by bookmakers.

"I was taken into [associate athletic director] Sue Tyler's office and asked if I knew of anyone betting through bookies, or on Maryland games," Bragg said. "I never saw that, and if I did, I would have put a stop to it.

"The only thing I saw, guys on the team would bet against each other on their favorite [NFL] team, and put up five bucks. When the NCAA announced the 64-team field for basketball, everyone would fill out a pool and put up a dollar. Every office in America does that."

Yow said that before each season, Maryland athletes are informed of the NCAA rule against gambling, and that athletes are required to sign a statement acknowledging their understanding of the rule.

Coach Mark Duffner released a statement on the matter through the sports information department.

"Certainly the football program is cooperating in every way with the review being conducted by the president's office and the athletic department," Duffner said. "Our student-athletes are made aware of the pitfalls of gambling.

"We tell them it's just good common sense to stay away from gambling, which hurts the integrity of college athletics. Furthermore, it's against the law, as well as being an NCAA rules violation."

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