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Man Pleads Guilty To Attempted Bribery of D-I Basketball Player

Women's NCAA college basketball rack.

(Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)

Few American sports have seen as much constant rule-breaking as college basketball.

From point shaving to recruiting violations, NCAA men's basketball has seen some of the strangest behind-the-scenes issues in sports history. As recently as 2013, a former Auburn point guard named Varez Ward was arrested after allegedly trying to fix a game between his alma mater and Arkansas. But the latest incident involving blatant attempted bribery is definitely one of the strangest we've seen in recent years.

According to ESPN, a Staten Island man named Benjamin Bifalco pleaded guilty to attempted sports bribery on Thursday morning. Per the report, the man faces six months to five years in prison at sentencing.

The defendant admitted in court that he offered money to an unnamed Division I college basketball player in exchange for ensuring that his team didn't beat the spread. However, the player reportedly did not accept the financial incentive.

The investigation began back in December 2018. The defendant was reportedly identified on an FBI wiretap targeting the Colombo crime family in New York.

He was one of 20 people ultimately arrested for a wide range of crimes.

ESPN's report notes that investigators found that the defendant's wagering advice did not yield any winners. The Division I team that he was trying to sway remains unnamed.