University of Toledo officials have known for two years the bad news was coming. It finally struck Wednesday when six former players — three each from Toledo’s basketball and football programs, as well as two Detroit-area businessmen — were charged with conspiracy to commit sports bribery in an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
The 20-count indictment charges that between December 2004 and December 2006, Ghazi “Gary” Manni, 52, and Mitchell Karam, 76, paid money and other things of value to the athletes in order to influence, or attempt to influence, the final score of both football and basketball games. Though the money paid players was at times as little as $500, this is believed to be the first major gambling case involving two sports on a college campus.
Nothing in the indictment, however, details Manni and Karam placing wagers on football games. Instead, the indictment lists 17 specific games in which they placed bets on Toledo basketball contests, including the amounts wagered. The indictment also details 133 phone calls between Manni and those charged in the case.
Charged in the indictment, in addition to Manni and Karam, were Harvey “Scooter” McDougle Jr., 24, a former running back from Cleveland; Adam Cuomo, 31, a former running back from Hagersville, Ontario, Canada; Quinton Broussard, 25, a former running back from Carrollton, Texas; Keith Triplett, 29, a former basketball player from Toledo; Anton Currie, 25, a former basketball player from Okemos, Mich; and Kashif Payne, 24, a former basketball player from Chester, Pa.
The indictment filed Wednesday alleges Manni and Karam wagered approximately $407,500 on Toledo basketball and football games between November 2005 and December 2006. Both Mani and Karam, as well as jockey Ricardo Valdes, were also named in a separate indictment Wednesday that alleges they paid jockeys to influence the results of thoroughbred horse races at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida. Subsequently, the two allegedly used the simulcast pari-mutuel wagering system to place bets on the fixed races.
None of the school’s current athletes are believed to be involved in point shaving past or present. As I wrote a month ago, with all the money that is bet on collegiate sports these days, I’m surprised there haven’t been more cases like this.