FBI's involvement in UTEP sports betting controversy unusual

Updated: Wednesday, January 8 2014, 09:06 PM MST

By: Genevieve Curtis

EL PASO, Texas -- When the stakes are high, the loss can be as well.

KFOX14 reports that according to an FBI investigation, University of Texas at El Paso basketballplayers McKenzie Moore, Jalen Ragland and Justin Crosgile gambled away their college careers.

"At least up to now they were not betting on UTEP games," said UTEP Vice President Richard Adauto at a press conference Tuesday night.

Tuesday, the university officials said the three players have been removed from the team for allegedly placing bets on sporting events.

The university said they could not say where the alleged gambling took place, what sports players gambled on or how much it was for. Instead officials deferred to the FBI's ongoing investigation.

Sports betting is a serious NCAA violation that UTEP officials and head coach Tim Floyd said the players were very well aware of. They receive a presentation on it twice a year.

The NCAA even has a campaign to reinforce the severity of the issue titled, "Don't bet on it."

The video reminds players that even having a "fantasy team" on professional sports or otherwise is a violation of the rule.

The consequences result in a one-year suspension and a one-year loss of eligibility,

Local sports commentator for 600 ESPN Radio, Steve Kaplowitz says the NCAA and universities do a thorough job in letting players know what they can and cannot do.

"You can't fault the coaches or the administration. There has to come a time when players are smart enough to know what's right and what's wrong," said Kaplowitz.

The rule is in place because of how blurred the lines can get when it comes to betting.

"I think they are very justified in having this rule in place; it speaks to the integrity of the sport. These young people can be compromised given that they are student athletes," said Floyd.

Up until now, the FBI's ongoing investigation has not revealed point shaving but Kaplowitz said that makes the FBI's involvement in the violations interesting.

"It's weird because when you look back on the history of the FBI investigating college athletes, most of the time, a majority of the time its point shaving, that's where it is," said Kaplowitz.

According to The Associated Press, in May, the NCAA released a study that found 50 percent of male athletes who play Division 1 sports admitted to gambling for money, but finding suspensions for those illegal actions is much harder.

"We tried to find the last time a college basketball or football player was suspended for sports betting, this is unprecedented, You've never had that," said Kaplowitz.

FBI's involvement in UTEP sports betting controversy unusual
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