As word of the indictment against a former University of San Diego assistant basketball coach and two former players spread across the USD campus on Monday, other student athletes said they were disappointed to hear about them.
"It's definitely a serious allegation," said USD football player Matt Peleti. "USD has a very strong reputation for following NCAA rules [and] not violating major laws, so it's definitely kind of a shock."
Former USD assistant basketball coach Thaddeus Brown and former players Brandon Johnson and Brandon Dowdy were among 10 people named in a federal indictment unsealed Monday in connection with an alleged sports-bribery ring that offered bribes to college basketball players to fix games.
USD has a clean reputation and was founded on Roman Catholic beliefs. Part of the university's mission statement says it is "preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service, but the conduct that Brown, Johnson and Dowdy are accused of is anything but ethical.
"It comes down on them as people more so, I think, than the school itself," said Mason Mills, the quarterback of USDs football team. "People react when they hear the name USD, but I don't think it will tarnish the image of the school as much as it will them."
In an interview last year, Johnson had this to say about character: "I feel like the biggest thing is going out every night and, you know, trying to show more character and
keep fighting and showing the people you know you love the game of basketball."
Now, the character Johnson was talking about has come under scrutiny.
"I think it's bad because all these players represent us," said USD freshman Jehan Tillekeratne. "They represent our school and, you know, just that kind of behavior shouldn't be happening behind the scenes."
In a prepared statement released on Monday, USD President Mary Lyons said, "These are very serious allegations and the university is fully cooperating with the investigation."
Lyon's statement went on to say, "As a values-based institution, USD is committed to the principles of integrity, fairness and equity."
But the point-shaving allegations may have shaken the sense of fairness, and if the NCAA takes action, the university could lose its eligibility, which would hurt the basketball program for years to come.
The NCAA's response said in part:
"The NCAA is extremely concerned regarding the point-shaving allegations involving two former mens basketball student-athletes and a former assistant coach.These allegations are precisely why the NCAA continues to take such a strong stance against any sports wagering activities.As this news demonstrates, the threat is real and no campus is immune. From our own research, we know that 1.6 percent of Division 1 mens basketball student-athletes have reported being asked to affect the outcome of the game. While this number may be considered low by some, any incident is too many.
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