Questions Remain Over Gambling Revelations
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
College Hockey News broke the story earlier this week of Boston University forward Nick Roberto's season-long suspension for gambling activities during last season. There is of course wild speculation happening about what else may or may not have occurred. Our story served to put some of that to rest, but not all of it.
That notwithstanding, there are some legitimate and relevant open questions that remain about the situation.
* Who else was involved? If there were other Boston University players involved, it's all but certain that they are no longer with the team, as we referenced in our article. As a result, it doesn't necessarily matter who those people were, other than for our collective curiosity. None of these people seem to be in trouble with the law or anyone else, so that's that. However, our sources indicated that there are other players in college hockey who participated in these activities. If those players are current, they would be subject to suspension.
* Who was Roberto betting with? It's an automatic one-year suspension by the NCAA if you're placing bets on the Internet or with bookies. Since Roberto is sitting out this year, it's assumed that one of those things were involved. But we're not 100 percent sure what entity was involved. There was a gambling ring based out of Massachusetts that was busted last month. There is not necessarily a direct tie in, but maybe there is. No matter the case, it doesn't matter a whole lot because you don't normally get in trouble with the law for placing bets this way. It's the people accepting the bets that are in jeopardy. However, it would be worth knowing what entity was accepting Roberto's bets, because if you're dealing with shady characters, that could cause major issues, especially if you rack up a lot of debt.
* Which leads to the next question ... how much debt was involved? It's safe to say that if this came to light, the players involved didn't lose just $20 on football games. Clearly, this reached a boiling point, whatever that is, and caused Roberto to come forward. Again, this is not so much anyone's business at this point, except that high dollar figures could cause major problems for the individuals involved.
* What rumors is Boston University referring to? The school said it started hearing rumors of gambling, so it looked into it. How did that come about? There's likely more to it than just randomly asking "who's involved" and having that person step up and admit it. What was the catalyst?
* Why won't the NCAA tell us anything? Boston University says that once it investigated the situation, it turned over what it knew to the NCAA, and the NCAA handed down discipline on Roberto. If that is the case, it was done behind the scenes without anyone knowing, and it only came to light once CHN found out the situation and asked BU for a response. However, the NCAA won't comment on it. This seems unusual.
* Who is spreading the more lurid rumors? I don't like to give validity to unfounded rumors by addressing them, even if just to say they're not true. Just mentioning them gives them a validity they don't deserve. But there's a rumor being floated around that this situation compromised Boston University's championship game loss last April. That's obviously such a collossal issue, if that were the case, that even though it's unsubstantiated rumor, it's an elephant in the room that should be addressed. And this rumor is being perpetuated by coaches, agents and scouts in New England — so it isn't just fans on the street trying to fabricate their own conclusions and stir the pot. And, of course, it's very easy to look at Matt O'Connor's goaltending meltdown late in the championship game and shake your head at how that could happen. People will inevitably try to tie things together.
However, let me say that there is ZERO evidence that anything like this occurred. And I don't believe it for one second, myself. I'm not so naive as to think that someone with huge debt couldn't potentially be compromised in that situation. But, like I said, there is no evidence of anything like that happening, and just from watching the game, there's nothing that would suggest it happened. Even the O'Connor play — would you really do something that obvious? Wouldn't the rest of his teammates be quick to castigate him, or worse, if they suspected something like that took place? However, they all acted quite the contrary. So, I'm more interested in the source of these rumors than anything.
My sense in all of this is that Boston University has done the right thing, by and large. The issue is with the individual players. I don't think gambling is a capital crime, but I do think the NCAA has a good reason for wanting to keep it in check. Furthermore, I wouldn't want any players in question to put themselves potentially in harm's way.
This is where the interest lies, not in any self-important, holier-than-thou moralizing and grandstanding.