Three players have been kicked off UTEP's basketball team after gambling allegations forced the school's hand to report the alleged nefarious behavior to local FBI offices.
Leading scorer McKenzie Moore, in addition to Jalen Ragland and Justin Crosgile, have all been removed from the team. Moore and Ragland were suspended on Dec. 28 after the UTEP athletic department received a tip "from a citizen of (the UTEP) community" regarding possible gambling. Crosgile's alleged involvement in gambling became known Monday, according to UTEP coach Tim Floyd.
School officials insisted Tuesday that there has been no evidence found that the players were involved in point shaving or ever bet on games affiliated with UTEP.
"We evaluate every film after every ball game and I was not suspicious of any behavior that they were betting on any UTEP event," Floyd said. Because of the investigation, he has not spoke to Moore or Ragland since Dec. 28.
School officials also neglected to specify what kind of games the players were alleged to have gambled on or how frequently. If the allegations are true, all three will be suspended at least a year, per NCAA rules, and lose a year of eligibility following the suspension. Since the players involved are in their junior year or above, that would mean their college careers would be effectively over.
“We do know that, up to now, they were not betting on UTEP games,” UTEP executive vice president Ricardo Adauto said at the press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Aduato added that when UTEP learned of the allegations, it alerted the federal authorities that same day.
“When we got it, we acted on it,” he said, and when asked if there were more questions about possible gambling unfound among current UTEP players, added, "we think we're done" and that he's "confident right now" no evidence of point shaving or gambling on UTEP will be uncovered.
The investigative part on behalf of the school "is basically done," according to Aduato, and is in the hands of the FBI.
The penalties enforced are against the players, not the university, according to school AD Bob Stull.
"From our perespective, we need to come to some sort of closure with the NCAA," Aduato said.
"I don't think you're gonna find another case where the u niversity reported to the FBI what was going on," Floyd told the pool of reporters. "Couldn't see this coming. You just can't see this coming. You can't even envision it.”
Moore had been UTEP's leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points, while Ragland was putting up 3.7 points. The Miners are 2-0 since the suspensions, 10-5 overall.
-- Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello contributed to this report.