USD cleared in point-shaving scandal

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The NCAA found no improper conduct on the part of
employees or other student-athletes at the University of San Diego in
connection with a point-shaving scandal in its men's basketball program, the
school announced Tuesday.

The organization that runs college athletics opened its investigation
after an extensive federal criminal case concluded earlier this year. The NCAA
accepted USD's submission of a minor rules violation, according to the school.

“We are happy with the NCAA's conclusion of this matter and truly
appreciate its review of this case in a thorough, efficient and timely
manner,” USD President Mary Lyons said.

Former star guard Brandon Johnson and ex-assistant coach Thaddeus
“T.J.” Brown were among 10 people indicted in 2011 for scheming to fix games
in the 2009-10 season.

Johnson was sentenced in March to six months in federal prison after
pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge, in which he admitted that he
unsuccessfully solicited another Toreros basketball player to participate in
the game-fixing scheme. That action came at the direction of Brown, according
to court records.

Johnson maintained that he never personally threw any games at his alma

The court documents showed Johnson — USD's all-time leading scorer in
men's basketball — was a willing accomplice in the game fixing scheme, making
$5,000 to $10,000 to manipulate about four games.

Phone conversations secretly recorded by the FBI have Johnson saying
he'd be willing to throw “every game.”

Following his arrest in April 2011, Johnson told agents that he knew the
point spreads of games and admitted receiving several thousand dollars from
bettors afterward, but denied throwing any games.

Brown also pleaded guilty to conspiracy for another member of the USD
team to bettors in 2011, as part of an unsuccessful attempt to fix games after
Johnson left the school.

The three primary defendants in the case — Steve Goria, Richard Garmo
and Paul Thweni — all admitted bribing Johnson to fix USD games during the
season in question.

Eight of those indicted pleaded guilty and charges against two others
were dismissed.

“As I've stated before, game-fixing charges cut to the very core of
what college athletics is about in regards to competition, integrity and
fairness,” said Ky Syder, the executive director of athletics at USD, which
competes in the West Coast Conference.

“This was not a victimless crime,” Snyder said. “Student-athletes
have questioned how much of their career was real. Like we do every year, we
will continue our commitment to educating our student-athletes and staff on the
perils of sports wagering and to maintaining the highest ethical standards in
our athletics programs.”

USD officials said letters were sent to Johnson and Brown,
disassociating them from the university and its athletics program.

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