Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired earlier this year in large part because of his friend’s reckless attempt to gamble on a game, and let’s just say it is hardly a surprise the activity was flagged.
Bert Eugene Neff, who is the father of a University of Cincinnati baseball player, triggered alerts regarding suspicious activity when he bet on the April 28 game between Alabama and LSU. Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated spoke with several sources and uncovered numerous details about the investigation for a story he published on Monday.
For starters, Neff tried to place a $100,000 wager on the Alabama-LSU game at the BetMGM Sportsbook inside Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The game had gotten almost no gambling traffic other than that, which was reason enough to flag the bet.
But it gets much worse.
According to Forde, Neff told the ticket writers that the reason he wanted to bet $100,000 on the game is that he had inside information. He was texting with Bohannon at the time on an encrypted messaging app called Signal. Using sportsbook surveillance cameras, investigators were later able to zoom in on Neff’s phone and see the details of the text conversation with Bohannon.
“(Video cameras) can see the (text) conversation back-and-forth,” a source familiar with the investigation told SI. “It couldn’t have been any more reckless.”
The inside information was that Alabama was scratching ace starting pitcher Luke Holman due to back tightness. Hagan Banks, who hadn’t started a game in weeks, got the start in Holman’s place. Bohannon relayed that information to Neff before it was made public.
While it is unclear if Bohannon himself was wagering on the game, investigators determined that the former coach knew Neff was placing bets on LSU. Bohannon was said to be part of an ongoing text chain between Neff and some of Neff’s gambling associates.
Bohannon was fired on May 4 over the matter. Two staff members of the Cincinnati Bearcats baseball team, assistant Kyle Sprague and operations director Andy Nagle, were fired on May 17 for not reporting their knowledge of Neff’s wagering.
It is almost surreal how reckless Neff was in placing the bet. Any bet of that magnitude on a regular-season college baseball game would be scrutinized, but Neff seemed oblivious to all of that.
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