Cheating is a part of sports, whether people like to hear it or not. In fact, some people are quite okay with that, thus the common phrase “if you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin.” But there are certain “fouls” that are unforgivable in sports — the greatest of them all is point shaving.
If you aren’t familiar, point shaving is when a player or players intentionally play worse in order to “fix” a game for gamblers — they affect the outcome of bets placed on the game’s point spread. It ruins the competitiveness and integrity of games, and to further exemplify the seriousness of it, it’s actually a federal offense at the college and professional levels.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, former Auburn point guard Varez Ward has been indicted on two charges for an alleged role in point shaving an SEC conference game. The game in question was a matchup versus Arkansas on January 25th, 2012. Ward played only 19 seconds in that game, turning the ball over and then leaving with an injury. His Auburn team lost the game, 56-53.
In addition to the game against Arkansas, the FBI also investigated a game in which Auburn played Alabama and Ward had a particularly atrocious performance. An FBI spokesperson did comment on the ongoing investigation:
“The integrity of competitive sports must be protected from criminal enterprises which seek to illegally profit by impacting performance and undermine the competitive purity of sports. The FBI will continue to devote resources to protect the integrity of amateur and professional sports.” ~ Stephen Richardson, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Mobile Field Division
If Ward does end up getting convicted, this will be a nasty stain on both Auburn and the SEC. We’ll keep you updated.