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Questions Of Betting Integrity Arise Following Louisiana Tech Football Suspensions

An investigation into the Louisiana Tech football team by numerous authorities is underway after the program delayed the announcement of three suspended players and a fishy line movement prior to the team’s 31-10 Nov. 15 loss to Marshall.

Marshall was a two-point favorite on the opening line over Louisiana Tech. However, that line jumped to 4.5 in favor of Marshall early on the morning of Nov. 14 when Vegas Stats & Information Network radio host Pauly Howard reported on his show, Follow the Money, that a “trusted source” relayed to him that a few Louisiana Tech players would be suspended for the game. Among those players was quarterback J’Mar Smith, who was enjoying a fine season for the Bulldogs.

Prior to the game, Louisiana Tech had won eight straight.

The issue at hand is that Louisiana Tech’s athletic department didn’t make an announcement on the suspensions until the night before the game. Now, investigators have a few questions.

  • Why didn’t Louisiana Tech reveal this news to the public earlier?
  • Who exactly knew about these suspensions?
  • Did anyone from the school make any bets before the news broke with this inside information?

On Brent Musberger’s My Guys in the Desert show on VSiN, Westgate SuperBook director John Murray said the sharps were all over Marshall on the spread and moneyline earlier in the week. Musberger’s co-host, Vinny Magliulo, mentioned that a similar volume of bets was placed on Marshall at the South Point Sportsbook.
Murray did say that the Westgate moved the line to Marshall -7 after the suspensions were announced, and South Point ended up with it at -6.

Changes Needed

Adding even more fuel to the fire is that sportsbooks in Mississippi, which is right next to Louisiana, were able to take wagers on this game. Residents of The Bayou State with prior knowledge of these suspensions would have easily been able to cross the border and place their bets.

“I think the NCAA could do well from the NFL policy of being more transparent,” said Magliulo. “Integrity is at the forefront of what they want as an institution – the NCAA and the professional leagues – it’s also at the forefront of what we want. To have the fullest level of integrity, you have to have transparency.”

Matthew Holt, who is the president of the sports-betting consulting firm U.S. Integrity, also weighed in on the matter at hand.

“Part of the problem in the collegiate community is that there hasn’t been a policy change from the NCAA since the 2003 ‘Don’t Bet On It’ campaign,” said Holt. “Think of sports betting in the United States in 2003 and sports betting in the United States in 2019. Those are very different landscapes.”

Certainly, a lot more can be done to educate athletic programs on how to handle these situations in the future. Whether Louisiana Tech knew what it was doing or not, sports betting is now at a place where this type of thing can’t be happening anymore.

“Betting on these games is not going to go away,” said Musberger. “When there’s a suspension, just announce it. So be it.”

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