CCNY point shaving scandal
The CCNY point shaving scandal of 1950–1951 was a college basketball point shaving gambling scandal that involved seven schools in all, with four in Greater New York and three in the Midwest. However, most of the key players in the scandal were players of the 1949–50 CCNY Beavers men's basketball team.
The scandal involved the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Invitation Tournament (NIT) champion City College of New York (CCNY). CCNY had won the 1950 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1950 National Invitation Tournament over Bradley University. The scandal involved the Beavers and at least six other schools, including three others in the New York City area: New York University, Long Island University and Manhattan College. It spread out of New York City to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois; the University of Kentucky and the University of Toledo. The scandal would spread to 33 players and involve the world of organized crime. As a result of the scandal that broke early in the year, Bill Spivey's Most Outstanding Player Award for the 1951 NCAA tournament was vacated after it became known that Spivey was implicated in the point-shaving scandal. CCNY was eventually banned from playing at Madison Square Garden, although the coach, Nat Holman, would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
How the scandal first came to light
The scandal first came to light when New York City District Attorney Frank Hogan arrested seven men on charges of conspiring to fix games on February 18, 1951. Those taken into custody included All-America forward Ed Warner, center Ed Roman, and guard Al Roth, the three stars of the CCNY 1950 National Championship team. The police had set up an undercover, or "sting", operation. The arrests were made in Penn Station when the players returned to New York from Philadelphia, after CCNY had defeated Temple, 95-71
The scandal had long-lasting effects for some of the individuals involved, as well as college basketball itself. Coaches, long after the scandal was over, would warn their players what could happen to their lives if they chose to make some "fast money" now.
Additionally, many collegiate administrators felt the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden, and New York City in general, lent itself to corruption. The NCAA didn't schedule any tournament games in the New York area until 1982, when first and second round games were hosted at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. Final Four wouldn't return to the New York area until the 1996 Final Four was held at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In 2014, the current Madison Square Garden will host the East Regional semifinals and final--the first time that any NCAA Tournament games have been played in New York City itself in 63 years.
While Kentucky was forced to cancel one season of play (1952–53), it was the only program that was not permanently hobbled by the scandal. To date, Bradley is the only other affected school to have appeared in a final major media poll. However, none of the programs would suffer more than CCNY and LIU. Following the discovery of several other irregularities, CCNY deemphasized its athletic program and dropped down to what is now Division III. LIU shut down its entire athletic program from 1951 to 1957, and didn't return to Division I until the 1980s.
City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal
In 1998, George Roy and Steven Hilliard Stern, Black Canyon Productions, and HBO Sports made a documentary film about the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal, City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal, that appeared on HBO.
The story is also detailed in The First Basket, the first and most comprehensive documentary on the history of Jews and basketball.
Pop Culture References
Sherman White – a player for the Long Island University men's basketball team that was indicted and jailed for participating in the point shaving scandal of 1951
Head Coach Nat Holman
- Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY. "The 1951 Basketball Scandal" - The City College Library - City College of New York
- Goldstein, Joe. "Explosion: 1951 scandals threaten college hoops" - ESPN - November 19, 2003
- Conrad, Mark. "Sportslaw History: The City College Scandal" - Mark's Sportslaw News
- "The Big Money" - Time Magazine - February 26, 1951
- Goldstein, Joe. "Explosion II: The Molinas period" - ESPN - November 19, 2003
- Callahan, Tom. "When Scandals Do Not Scandalize" - Time Magazine - November 30, 1981
- Roy, George, and Steven Hilliard Stern. City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. - Time Warner - Black Canyon Productions, and HBO Sports. March 24, 1998.
- City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. - IMDb
- 2010 Lost Letterman article on CCNY scandal 60 years later
- 1998 N.Y. Times Article on 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal