The fallout from the long alleged Toledo point shaving scandal has finally come down, and the findings are not comforting for Rockets fans. According to the TOLEDO BLADE, six different Toledo athletes have been charged with actions that make it pretty obvious that they were willing to sell their success on the field and court.
(The most decorated point shaver, Kashif Payne.)
Here’s the full scoop: Three football players and three basketball players (and possibly a fourth) all met with two Michigan men, and allegedly exchanged more than 130 phone calls, setting the stage for some $407,000 of proceeds on Toledo basketball games in 2005 and 2006. The whole scandal started when Adam Cuomo, a Canadian backup running back for the Rockets, started tipping Ghazzi “Gary” Manni about upcoming football games, then introducted him to a number of basketball players for the team.
The lesson, as always: It’s all Canada’s fault.
Of course, the point-shaving spread a lot deeper than that. Another running back, Harvey “Scooter” McDougle later became a recruiter for Manni and the other alleged point shaving kingpin, Mitchell Edward Karam, a Flint, Mich. native who should probably be applauded for his initiative to get the hell out of town.
(A full breakdown of the incidents, via the TOLEDO BLADE.)
While the football players involved in the scam may have been also-rans, the hoopsters who took a dive were top-notch. One, Kashif Payne, was the starting point guard during his sophomore and junior seasons, and was named the Mid-American Conference’s defensive player of the year. Another alleged point shaver, Keith Triplett, is the school’s third all-time leading scorer. The third Rocket involved, Anton Currie, was a four-year letter winner and a fourth, Sammy Villegas, has reportedly already reached a plea deal, possibly after we wrote about his involvement right here.
What does this mean for Toledo? Well, it means that they won’t be getting an invite to be the 12th Big Ten team Joe Paterno is jonesing for, that’s for sure. It also casts a pretty dark light on the MAC, which has pushed itself up toward the Mountain West and WAC levels of college sports respectability in recent years.
All of this is bad news for the NCAA, but it’s also bad news for trying to defend any sense of class in the MAC. Just check out the places where players met the Michigan men:
“… in-person meetings including a couple at the Glass Bowl, Laikon Cafe in Detroit, and Huntington Bank in Hamtramck, Mich. Meetings also occurred, according to the indictment, in the parking lot of a Ramada Inn in Warren, Mich., a Bob Evans restaurant in Hamtramck, and King Cole Foods grocery store in downtown Detroit where Manni works.”
Let’s see, as far as we can tell, the classiest joint on that list is the parking lot of a Ramada Inn in Warren, Michigan. If we ever end up dreaming of a glamorous afternoon in a Ramada Inn parking lot, someone go ahead and shoot us. As for the Bob Evans, they better have picked a big breakfast. That’s the only good meal on the menu and, if they’re convicted, they may not get too many good meals for 3-6 years (though probably a lot less, based on lighter sentences and parole, etc.).