BU's Roberto Suspended For Gambling Activity
by Mike McMahon and Adam Wodon/CHN Staff Writers
Boston University junior forward Nick Roberto, who has not played this season due to a team-imposed suspension, will not play for the remainder of this season, College Hockey News has learned.
According to several sources, Roberto's suspension is the result of gambling activity he participated in during last season. Sources indicate that Roberto was not the only BU player involved, though those players are no longer with the hockey program. The identity of those players could not be confirmed. Other sources have indicated that players from other teams were involved, too.
In a statement released to CHN today, the University said, “Beyond confirming that Mr. Roberto will not play for the Boston University hockey team this season, federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.
“However, we can say that several months ago, we heard rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling. Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information.”
Emily James, a spokesperson for the NCAA, said the NCAA will have no comment regarding a potential investigation into the BU hockey program stemming from the alleged gambling.
According to NCAA by-laws, a player who is found gambling on any sporting event, amateur or pro in any sport, via a “bookie” or the Internet, faces a minimum one-year suspension. Other gambling, even through legal means such as fantasy sports, are subject to a suspension of an undetermined length. For some of the players, the gambling activities incurred “large” debts, which eventually led to the situation coming to light.
BU head coach David Quinn originally cited a “coach’s decision” for not dressing Roberto in the Terriers’ season opener against Union, but had not commented on the forward’s status since that game.
Last month, a Massachusetts gambling ring was busted by state and federal investigators. In a 122-count indictment handed down after a year-long investigation, 33 people were indicted by a grand jury as part of the operation, which was based out of Boston and the South Shore. One of those was Keith O'Connell, who, sources indicate, is the same Keith O’Connell that is a former defenseman at Boston College and Massachusetts.
O’Connell was charged with registering bets, using the telephone to register bets and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
There is no indication at this time that the players involved are under investigation for any crime, or that they were placing bets with the organization involved in the indictment.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office had no comment on any investigation potentially involving BU players, citing the original press release which details the 33 men indicted as part of the gambling ring.
Several of the 33 men indicted were arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on Nov. 30. O’Connell and some others have had their hearings pushed to January.
Last season, Roberto finished with four goals and eight assists in 41 total games, including postseason games. He has 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in his first two years at BU, spanning 74 games.
CHN will have more on the story as it unfolds.