NCAA punishes ex-Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon in gambling case versus LSU
The NCAA handed down a five-year suspension as part of a 15-year show cause order against former Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon on Thursday, effectively banning him from college coaching, after he provided information to a gambler who used it to make illegal wagers against the Crimson Tide.
The NCAA and Alabama came to a negotiated resolution in the case that involved multiple Level I and II violations, although Bohannon didn’t participate in the investigation. The school was hit with three years of probation and a $5,000 fine, and agreed to additional education programming for athletes, coaches and staff on the potential harms of gambling.
Bohannon was cited for violating NCAA principles of “honesty and sportsmanship” when he provided information about an injury to his starting pitcher to Bert Eugene Neff on April 28, 2023, before Alabama played LSU. Neff pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstruction of justice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
Under conditions of the show cause order, if another school hires Bohannon in an athletically related position during the 15 years, it would be required to appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to explain why and to suspend him for 100% of regular-season games over the first five years of his employment. After the five years, a school would still be subjected to increased penalties if rules violations occurred under Bohannon.
The NCAA released redacted text messages from Bohannon urging Neff to make a big bet against his team “HAMMER … (Student-athlete) is out for sure … Lemme know when I can tell LSU… Hurry.”
Starting pitcher Luke Holman was a late scratch because of back issues before that game and Alabama lost 8-6.
Shortly after that, Neff attempted to place a $100,000 bet on the Alabama game, but the sportsbook limited him to $15,000 and wouldn’t let him place more bets “due to suspicious activity,” the NCAA said. That included telling the staff that LSU was “for sure going to win” and “if only you guys knew what I knew.” He also showed them messages from Bohannon, the NCAA said.
“Integrity of games is of the utmost importance to NCAA members, and the panel is deeply troubled by Bohannon’s unethical behavior,” said Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Big East and chief hearing officer for the panel. “Coaches, student-athletes and administrators have access to information deemed valuable to those involved in betting. Improperly sharing that information for purposes of sports betting cuts to the heart of the honesty and sportsmanship we expect of our members and is particularly egregious when shared by those who have the ability to influence the outcome of games.”
Alabama issued a statement citing its cooperation with the investigation and noting that nobody else at the university was cited for wrongdoing.
“The university remains committed to investigating and addressing compliance issues on a fully transparent and cooperative basis with the NCAA,” the school’s statement said. “Moreover, we have and will continue to provide student-athletes, coaches and staff with robust training on the strict rules surrounding gambling and warnings about the inherent personal dangers of loss and addiction.”
Under Neff’s plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend he receive a sentence on the lower end of the federal guidelines, which could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The plea deal says Neff shared Bohannon’s information with four other gamblers, who placed wagers on the game, and then lied to FBI agents.
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