New Details Have Emerged on the Alabama Sports Betting Scandal

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jul 31, 2023 12:00 AM
The Alabama sports betting scandal has taken an interesting turn.

New details have emerged on the Alabama sports betting scandal that continues to rock the state's most popular collegiate baseball program. And the underbelly of the discussion could end up impacting the future of Alabama sports betting—assuming it even has one.

The latest report suggests officials were tipped off to the gambling violation when a bettor attempted to wager $100,000 on an LSU vs. Alabama baseball game. The size and timing of the bet raised all sorts of red flags. So, too, did certain comments that were made alleging the bettor had unique inside information.

There are many more details for us to go through, and we'll do so shortly. The new information paints a far more complete picture of the scandal. Previously, all we knew was that the University of Alabama had fired their baseball coach, Brad Bohannon, because of a gambling issue that directly involved members of the program. At the time, it was also reported someone involved had been caught on video surveillance attempting to place a rather large wager.

That was basically the extent of the information. The University of Alabama didn't clear up any of the speculation, either. They released a statement on Bohannon's dismissal dripping in ambiguous cliches. Even now, on the heels of what can only be called an explosive report from Sports Illustrated, we likely still don't have the full story. But we know much more than we did, and provided you read on, you will, too.

The Investigation into the Alabama Sports Betting Scandal has Taken a Six-Figure Turn

A man by the name of Bert Eugene Neff Jr. is at the center of a report from Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde. After speaking with numerous sources, Forde mapped out a timeline and full backstory on what happened on April 28, 2023, at the BetMGM Sportsbook located inside the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. 

On that day in question, Neff, who is a youth-league coach from a town in Indiana, walked into the BetMGM Sportsbook and attempted to place a wager on the matchup between No. 1 LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide scheduled to take place later that night. According to Forde, Neff's plans went awry from the jump. From the Sports Illustrated report:

"The game had gotten virtually no gambling traffic, and Neff’s desired bets on the Tigers far exceeded the sportsbook’s established house limit on college baseball. It was a foolhardy act that created a surreal scene, and the ripple effects from that incident continue to be felt more than a month later. [Neff] pleaded his case for making the huge wager to the book’s staff, the sources say. He indicated that he had inside information on the game—and he did, in the palm of his hand.

"Neff was texting with Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon via the encrypted messaging app Signal while at the betting window, attempting to place the wager, the sources say. His texting was indiscreet, to the point that the book’s video surveillance cameras were able to zoom in on the details of Neff and Bohannon’s text exchange, making Bohannon’s name visible later in screenshots. '[Video cameras] can see the [text] conversation back-and-forth,” a source familiar with the incident says. 'It couldn’t have been any more reckless.'"

The inside information that Bohannon delivered to Neff: Alabama would soon announce that they were "scratching" their superstar starting pitcher Luke Holman from the game that night because he was dealing with back problems. What's more, Bohannon told Neff the team would be replacing Holman with Hagan Banks—who hadn't started a game for the Crimson Tide in over a month. Neff, in turn, was attempting to place the $100,000 wager on Alabama to lose.

This Sports Betting Scandal Could Have Huge Repercussions on Not Just Alabama, but the Entire Country

These new details are being met with a ton of scrutiny. Sure, the fact that sports betting in Alabama isn't yet legal absolutely matters. But this debacle speaks to a larger issue taking place throughout the entire USA: How are states, pro sports organizations and universities grappling with the increased risk of insider gambling violations amid the rapidly growing, increasingly lucrative legal sports betting industry?

Some have tried to argue instances like this are few and far between. Others believe it's only a problem at the collegiate level, where staffers aren't always paid monster salaries and athletes usually make very little off their own name and likeness. Both stances are dismissive and, quite frankly, incorrect.

Pro sports teams are trying to reconcile the same problem. The NFL, in particular, has doled out suspensions over each of the past few years due to sports betting violations. Granted, there might be something to the increased concern at the college level. As Forde noted in his report, Coach Bohannon was very much aware that Neff planned to place a wager again the Crimson Tide. This type of backroom transaction could be happening far more frequently, perhaps on smaller, harder-to-detect scales.

Indeed, $100,000 may not seem like a lot relative to a lot of Division 1 coaching salaries. But high-paying gigs are usually reserved for college football and college basketball coaches. Even at the biggest schools, staffers are paid much less across other sports. And this says nothing of what lower-level coaches and staffers earn. Head coaches are typically the only ones raking in huge salaries, if they're being lucratively paid at all.

None of which is to say sports betting enthusiasts need to worry about gambling laws getting revoked or incurring wholesale restrictions. We may see some tweaks by certain places if scandals keep popping up, but the best online sportsbooks in the United States and retail betting locations promise too much revenue to be shuddered. Of course, Alabama sports betting isn't yet legal. The conversation has really only started. And issues like this one at the University of Alabama make you wonder whether the state will be more hesitant to OK sports betting going forward.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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