More Details On Illegal Betting Scandal Involving Alabama Baseball Released

Grant Mitchell
By:
Grant Mitchell
07/12/2023
News

Highlights

  • Bert Eugene Neff Jr. bet $100,000 that Alabama would lose to LSU
  • Neff Jr. had inside information that Alabama’s star pitcher would be scratched due to injury
  • The investigation revealed a troubling trend amongst associates of Neff Jr.

More information has emerged regarding the events during the build-up to a University of Alabama baseball game that led to a coach being fired for suspected illegal sports betting.

According to Sports Illustrated, Bert Eugene Neff Jr., a friend of ex-Bama coach Brad Bohannon, attempted to wager more than $100,000 that eventual national champion LSU would beat the Crimson Tide. Employees at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio blocked the wager.

Even though the bet never went through due to general lack of interest in the sport and because it was over the house limit, it set off alarms around the sportsbook and led to Bohannon's eventual firing.

A failed plot

Neff Jr. must have been unaware that there was very little betting traffic on the spring game and also unaware that this exorbitant bet size would make him and his friend the center of attention. 

 

According to SI, Neff Jr., a former youth coach that was popular in recruiting networks, texted Bohannon while attempting to place the bet. He had undisclosed information that projected starting pitcher Luke Holman, who finished his year 7-4 with a 3.67 ERA, was dealing with back issues and would be unable to fulfill his obligations on the mound.  

 

Holman’s replacement was Hagan Banks (1-1, 3.48 ERA), who at the time had not appeared in more than a month. 

Neff Jr. allegedly pleaded with MGM’s staff in the hopes they would change their stance and accept his six-figure wager. He (falsely) promised them that he did not have inside information and was simply confident in the Tigers to beat out their SEC rivals (which they ultimately did 8-6).

Surveillance cameras at the sportsbook noticed that Neff Jr. was talking to Bohannon via Signal, an encrypted messaging platform, while at the betting counter. Bohannon’s name could be seen in the conversation, and the details of their back-and-forth were also recorded by the cameras.

SI noted that sources close to the situation claim that Bohannon was aware that Neff Jr. was using the information to gamble and bet against his team. It is unknown at this time if Neff Jr. was placing any or part of his bets on Bohannon’s behalf, but the latter knew the former was wielding the inside information against the sportsbooks.

Loose ends

Neff Jr. was undone by U.S. Integrity, a company employed by many top sportsbooks to preserve their gambling ecosystem. A report was sent to the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the SEC, as standard protocol dictates. 

Attempts to place similar bets were made by Neff Jr.’s associates in Indiana, though they too were blocked and are being investigated.

Not only has Bohannon been fired by Alabama, but he also must appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and could be handed a lifetime ban from coaching in the sport.

Neff Jr.’s son is a pitcher at the University of Cincinnati where in March this year, two staffers, assistant Kyle Sprague and operations director Andy Nagel, were removed for “potential NCAA violations.” Head coach Scott Googins also resigned two weeks later.

Sprague and Nagel allegedly knew of Neff Jr.’s gambling habits but did not wager on games themselves.

Xavier University (also based in Cincinnati, OH) is supposedly also at the center of a probe, and a school spokesperson confirmed the existence of a relationship with Neff Jr.

41 students at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University were made the subject of an investigation into possible breaches of gambling bylaws earlier this year. Though none of Alabama or LSU’s players are believed to have played a direct role in Neff Jr.’s scheme, it is another incident that has called into question the integrity of sports in the new sports betting era.

The NCAA prevents student-athletes, coaches, and team personnel from gambling on any sport in which a championship is awarded to the winning team. It also recently released an updated set of standards for guilty parties.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.