Ex-college coach, players charged with fixing games

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Ten people, including two former basketball players and a former assistant coach at the University of San Diego, have been indicted in connection with a scheme to fix games since 2008, U.S. federal prosecutors said on Monday.

The defendants were charged in the federal grand jury indictment with scheming to fix University of San Diego Toreros basketball games by bribing players and then betting on the games in Las Vegas.

All 10 defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conduct an illegal gambling business and distribute marijuana.

The six-page indictment charges that the profits from selling marijuana and betting on the games were used to fund further dealing and bribing.

A spokeswoman for the university was not immediately available for comment.

Among those charged were former Toreros players Brandon Johnson and Brandon Dowdy, and former assistant coach Thaddeus Brown.

The alleged conspiracy began in 2008, according to the indictment, and a defendant sought to bribe players as late as March of this year. All but one of the defendants have been taken into custody.

The University of San Diego is a private Catholic college with about 7,800 full-time students. It competes at the Division 1 level of NCAA.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI declined to say how much money was won betting or which games were affected.

But the indictment alleges that in February 2010, Johnson “attempted to influence and influenced the outcome of a USD game for a monetary bribe.”

According to the USD Toreros website, Johnson, of Houston, was playing as a fifth-year senior that year and was allowed to stay on the team because an injury at the end of the 2009 season kept him from playing the maximum number of games allowed by the NCAA.

In February 2010, Johnson became the Toreros’ all-time leading scorer, and the team lost five games and won one that month, according to the website.

The indictment states that Brown and Dowdy attempted to bribe a player to affect the outcome of a game in January 2011, but does not say if the player accepted the bribe or if any games were affected.

(Reporting by Marty Graham; editing by Dan Whitcomb, Greg McCune and Mohammad Zargham)

Ex-college coach, players charged with fixing games