Monday, May 19, 2008

Donaghy Bet on at least 100 of His Own Games

According to the AP:

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on about 14 games he officiated in the 2006-07 season, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg said in a letter filed Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

"In the Spring of 2003, Donaghy provided picks for games he refereed on only 2-3 occasions," Goldberg wrote. "Over the next three full seasons (2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006), however, Donaghy bet on numerous games that he worked.

"The government's investigation revealed that Donaghy provided picks for anywhere from 30 to 40 such games for each of those three seasons. During the 2006-2007 season (the time period charged in the information), Donaghy bet on approximately 30 games, including about 14 games that he refereed."

Donaghy pleaded guilty last year to charges he conspired to engage in wire fraud and transmitted betting information through interstate commerce. The referee said he made NBA bets for four years, even wagering on games he worked. He also admitted recommending bets to high-stakes gamblers and collecting $5,000 if his picks hit.

Donaghy is scheduled to be sentenced May 22. By law, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though the term could be much lower under sentencing guidelines.

It'd be nice if someone could research the games Donaghy ref'd during those seasons. Maybe later I can look into it, no time right now since I actually have to work at a real job. I'm curious to know if any of these games were playoff games / high profile games, or were they Hawks vs Clippers type games, games that no one would really notice any questionable calls.

What I would also like to know, and I realize this is really none of the "fans" business, but I'm curious if David Stern and Co. have implemented some sort of background check system to review the officials that are currently calling the basketball games. This should be more than just a one time check also - would need to be on-going. In the game of basketball there are so many judgement calls that can go either way, that it really would be very easy for an NBA official to make calls one way and get away with it. I have to believe that a system like this is already in place, it'd be reassuring to hear Stern discuss it in detail espcially in the wake of the Donaghy scandel.

On the flip side, I do want to give credit to Stern and Co. for tracking down Donaghy and weeding him out. That shows that there is at least some investigating going on. Question is... Are there more guys out there getting away with it?

Bottom line: May 22 is sentencing day for Donaghy, but unfortunately for fans, there will be many that scream "conspiracy" for all bad calls in the future - especially high profile, game changing, playoff calls. It's unfortunate, but at least for a while, partially justified.

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