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University of Cincinnati baseball staff fired for sports betting violations

On Thursday, the NCAA spoke in support of the University of Cincinnati’s move to fire two baseball staff who did not report a wagering infraction.

Earlier this week, the University of Cincinnati became the latest college athletic program to report sports betting-related issues. The university revealed that it had let go of assistant baseball coach Kyle Sprague and Andy Nagel, the team’s director of operations, on May 17.

The athletic department’s decision was based on the findings of an investigation into “potential NCAA infractions,” which started on May 8. The university’s baseball staff reportedly knew that a player’s parent was placing bets on games but neglected to report it. Their failure to inform the athletic department or the NCAA of the violation led to their dismissal.

Coach Scott Googins’ involvement in the wagering situation is currently unknown; hence his job status is under review.

The university declined to give further details about the situation as the investigation is still ongoing.

“I’m really interested if the facts ever come out, because that’s going to put coaches in very tough times, if you have to monitor parents to go with the transfer portal and everything else,” a previous NCAA compliance officer said.

Earlier this year, the University of Alabama announced a betting scandal that led to the dismissal of its baseball head coach Brad Bohannon.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University revealed potential NCAA violations a week later. The universities are currently investigating student-athletes that have participated in prohibited sports wagering.

A spokesperson for the NCAA stated that according to its regulations, member schools were required to report violations if and when they were made aware of them. Failing to do so is considered an infraction by the association.

The former compliance officer for the NCAA revealed that the commission was primarily concerned about coaches and administrators failing to report violations, particularly if it pertains to the actions of a player’s parents.

“I don’t know if the NCAA would really expect a student-athlete to turn their parents in, and that’s really any case, accepting benefits or what not,” they said.

According to the NCAA policy on sports betting, coaches and student-athletes were prohibited from placing bets on any sports in the NCAA that feature a championship. This includes activities like baseball, football, and basketball.

The prohibition covers the use of mobile sports betting apps as well as physical bookies and could lead to penalties like suspensions or, in some cases, outright dismissal.

Coaches, support staff, and student-athletes were also banned from sharing sports information with gamblers under NCAA rules. They were prohibited from sharing sensitive unreleased details that could influence a sports bet.

In 2022, Alan Tisdale, Virginia Tech linebacker, was placed on suspension and banned from playing nine games in the season. The player was found to have bet on NBA playoff games, but the sentence was reduced to six games after an appeal.

The rules to report sports betting infractions are currently under scrutiny; however, they may not see much change.

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez said earlier this month, “I would side on continuing to have very strict and punitive NCAA bylaws.”

“Because what is the upside to allowing sports wagering? Go bet the ponies. Go play blackjack.”

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