was a scandal involving theNational Basketball Association(NBA) and accusations that an NBA referee used his knowledge of relationships between referees, coaches, players and owners to bet on professional basketball games. In July 2007, reports of an investigation by theFederal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) were made public, which alleged that during the200506and200607NBA seasons,bet on games in which he officiated.
On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two federal charges related to the investigation, and a year later he was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release. As a result, the general reaction by the media was that the NBAs popularity would be hurt by the news of this scandal.
The story first broke when theNew York Postreported that the FBI was investigating allegations that an NBA referee had bet on games.The story was soon picked up by other major news agencies,as it was revealed that Donaghy was the referee under investigation. The reports claimed that Donaghy had started betting on games in 2005, and had connections toorganized crime.
The day after the initial reports, NBA commissionerDavid Sternsaid that no amount of effort, time or personnel is being spared to assist in this investigation, to bring to justice an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports, and to take the necessary steps to protect against this ever happening again.He then held a press conference on July 24 to address questions about the investigation. Although he called the Donaghy matter an isolated case, he also said it was the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced.
On July 27,ofIllinois, chairman of the, asked to meet with Stern regarding the Donaghy matter. In a letter to Stern, Rush indicated that he might call a hearing should the facts warrant public scrutiny. He also said that the affair could potentially be one of the most damaging scandals in the history of American sports.On the same day, it was reported that a high school classmate of Donaghys, and the classmates boss, had bet on NBA games based on Donaghys tips.Donaghy later revealed that he was rewarded $2,000 cash for each correct pick based on the tips he would pass along.
After the initial reports, Donaghy stayed at his home, before moving to a secure location to avoid the media scrutiny.He surrendered on August 15, 2007, and pleaded guilty to two felony charges of conspiracy.He told judges that he had used coded language to tip others about players physical condition and player/referee relations, and he specifically admitted to passing information about two games during the 200607 season. In total, he received $30,000 to pass inside information to the bookies.Donaghy also admitted that he had a severe gambling addiction, and was on medication to address it.He was released on a $250,000 bond.
On June 11, 2008, Donaghy alleged in a statement through his lawyers that several series in theNBA Playoffshad been improperly refereed according to the NBAs instructions. He alluded specifically to a playoff game where personal fouls [resulting in obviously injured players] were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees because it was in the NBAs interest to add another game to the series.The game referred to was widely believed to be Game 6 of the 2002Western Conference Finalsbetween theLos Angeles Lakersand theSacramento Kings, in which the Lakers shot 27free throwsin the fourth quarter.Donaghy also referred to a playoff series where Team 3s Owner alleged that referees were letting a Team 4 player get away with illegal screens. NBA Executive Y told Referee Supervisor Z that the referees for that game were to enforce the screening rules strictly against that Team 4 player.The playoff series was believed to be the first-round encounter between theHouston Rocketsand theDallas Mavericksin the2005 NBA Playoffs. The Rockets led 20 in the series before losing in 7 games,and then-Rockets head coachJeff Van Gundywas fined $100,000 for stating that a referee was targeting Houston centerYao Ming.
On July 29, 2008, Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and three years of supervised release. Although his lawyer asked for a probationary sentence, Donaghy admitted that he had brought shame on myself, my family and the profession.
Donaghy was released from federal prison on November 4, 2009. He is under supervised release by a federal parole-type officer.
Immediately after the reports were released, several writers said that the NBAs popularity would be hurt by the news.Chris Sheridanof ESPN said that the general American public has been turning away since the end of the Bulls dynasty, and this fiasco isnt going to help bring it back,andJ. A. Adandesaid that the integrity of the games just took a major hit.
Sports gambling expertR. J. Bell, president of sports betting information site , tracked every game Donaghy worked from 2003 to 2007. He discovered that during the two seasons investigated by the NBA, the teams involved scored more points than expected by the Las Vegas sports books 57 percent of the time. In the previous two seasons, this only happened 44 percent of the time. According to Bell, the odds of such a discrepancy are 1 in 1,000, and there was a 99.9 percent chance that these results would not have happened without an outside factor. He also found 10 straight games in 2007 in which Donaghy worked the game that the point spread moved 1.5 points or more before the tip an indication that big money had been wagered on the game. The big money won every timeanother indication that something (was) going on. However, Bell suggested that there was no way anyone who wasnt in on the fix could have known that something was amiss about Donaghys actions during a game; he said it would have been another year at the earliest before anyone could have caught on.
Handicapper Brandon Lang told ESPN that it is fairly easy for a crooked sports official to fix a game, despite Sterns insistence that Donaghy was a rogue official. According to Lang, an official can directly influence the outcome of a game 75 percent of the time if he has money on the game. For instance, Lang said that a crooked NBA referee can fix the total score by calling enough fouls to get both teams in the bonus. When a game is being fixed, Lang said, the officials should be the prime suspects because the players are making too much money to risk their future. Lang also believed abookieconnected to the mob turned Donaghy in to the FBI.
As a result of the betting scandal, Stern revised the guidelines on the behavior of NBA referees during the Board of Governors meeting in 2007. Despite the labor agreement for referees, which restricted them from participating in almost all forms of gambling, it was revealed that about half of the NBAs officials had made bets in casinos, albeit not withsportsbooks. In addition, almost all referees had admitted to engaging in some form of gambling. Stern stated that [the] ban on gambling is absolute, and in my view it is too absolute, too harsh and was not particularly well-enforced over the years. The gambling rules were revised to allow referees to engage in several forms of bettingthough not on sports. There were several other referee-related rule changes made: the announcement of referees of a game was moved from 90 minutes before tip-off to the morning of the game, to reduce the value of the information to gamblers; referees received more in-season training and counseling on gambling; more thorough background checks were carried out; the league declared its intention to analyze the statistical relationship between NBA games and referees gambling patterns for those games; and the interactions between referees and NBA teams were made easier and more formal.
National Basketball Association controversies
Schwartz, Alan; Rashbaum, William K. (July 21, 2007).N.B.A. Referee Under Investigation.
. Archived fromthe originalon September 15, 2007
Alfano, Sean (July 20, 2007).NBA Referee Accused Of Betting On Games. CBS News
Donaghy under investigation for betting on NBA games. ESPN. July 20, 2007
Wojnarowski, Adrian (July 20, 2007).Questionable callsYahoo!Archivedfrom the original on 10 August 2007
NBA Commissioner David Stern Press ConferenceNBA.com. July 24, 2007
Congressman requests meeting with Stern to discuss gambling scandal. ESPN News. July 27, 2007
Jones, Bomani (July 20, 2007).Corruption on the court is bad news for NBAESPN.com
Jaccarino, Mike; John Marzulli and Bill Hutchinson (July 27, 2007).Rogue refs bookies old HS chums.
Block, Dorian (August 10, 2007).Ref still hiding & wife blows whistle on media. New York Daily News.Archivedfrom the original on 30 September 2007
Donaghy pleads guilty, could face up to 25 years in prison. ESPN. August 15, 2007
Yaniv, Oren (August 17, 2007).Donaghy huddles with family after admitting he got $30G in bet plot that rocked NBA.
.Archivedfrom the original on 30 September 2007
2002 Lakers-Kings Game 6 at heart of Donaghy allegations. ESPN. June 11, 2008
ONeal rises to the occasion; Lakers force Game 7. ESPN. May 31, 2002
Mavericks Cruise Past Rockets in Game 7. NBA.com. Archived fromthe originalon 10 March 2008
Stern says probe will continue once Rockets done. ESPN. May 7, 2005
Donaghy sentenced to 15 months in prison in gambling scandal. ESPN. July 30, 2008.Archivedfrom the original on 6 April 2009
Sheridan, Chris (August 14, 2007).Whats next? Q&A on the NBAs gambling scandal. ESPN
Adande, J.A. (July 19, 2007).Ref investigation only adds to bad perception of NBA. ESPN
Jones, Bomani (July 20, 2008).Corruption on the court is bad news for NBA. ESPN
Wayne Drehs (July 24, 2007).Numbers indicate unlikely outcomes in games Donaghy officiated. ESPN.com
Wayne Drehs (July 23, 2007).Expert explains the many ways a crooked referee could fix bets. ESPN.com
Sheridan, Chris (October 26, 2007).NBA to revamp ref gambling rules; Jackson, Nunn see roles reduced. ESPN
Gaming the Game: The Story Behind the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen
2012 Olympics womens doubles disqualifications
National Basketball Association controversies
This page was last edited on 27 August 2017, at 16:28.