Terp probe expands to basketball

April 30, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland's investigation into gambling by athletes has explored possible contacts with bookmakers and has expanded beyond its football team.

Current football players and former Terps questioned during the probe have been asked about possible gambling done by members of the men's basketball team. They also have been questioned about a football player from last year's team and a walk-on prospect from the early 1990s who never played for Maryland.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that Maryland wants to know if those two former football players were bookmakers, or placed bets with bookmakers for other players.

Maryland officials also want to question Mike Rodgers. A member of the last recruiting class to come to College Park before the arrival of coach Mark Duffner, Rodgers left Maryland after the 1992 season and transferred to Memphis University. A linebacker, Rodgers has never played for Memphis.

Rodgers told the Washington Post that Maryland officials have offered to pay his transportation expenses so they can question him in person.

Beyond football, an athletic department source confirmed that the probe has looked into possible gambling by members of its men's basketball team. A Baltimore Sun employee saw a member of the basketball team filling out a parlay card last fall. Parlay cards are used to wager on a series of college and professional football games.

Betting on college athletics is a violation of NCAA rules, and athletes risk their eligibility by doing so. In the past, athletes who have bet as little as $100 have been suspended for 10 or 20 percent of their teams' schedules. Athletes who bet larger sums have lost their eligibility entirely.

The Maryland investigation, which is being conducted by the president's office and the athletic department with assistance from a New York law firm with experience in gambling by college athletics, is expected to conclude sometime in May.

Maryland is required to report its findings to the NCAA, and if it finds evidence that athletes gambled, they must be declared ineligible. They can appeal to be reinstated.

Former and current football players have been interviewed for as long as two hours during the investigation, which began March 6.

Larry Washington, a fourth-year Maryland student who left the football team last August, declined to be interviewed by the investigators. Washington said he didn't cooperate until after he received a letter from the university which, he said, stated: "if I didn't show up, it would affect my imminent transfer to Towson State."

Washington, who was The Sun's Athlete of the Year in 1990-91 while at Randallstown High, played sparingly for Maryland in 1992 and '93. He wants to transfer to Towson State for his final year of NCAA eligibility.

Zel,3 "I told them I had nothing to do with the program any more," Washington said. "I told them not to try to throw this thing off on me."

Duffner has ordered his players not to comment on the investigation.

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