DETROIT (AP) Three former football players at the University of Toledo were sentenced to probation Tuesday for their roles in a sports bribery scheme at the Ohio school, including a running back who made the first contact with a Detroit-area gambler.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said he chose probation over prison because the men have no additional criminal record and the point-shaving scandal happened a decade ago. Prosecutors had no objection.
While serious, the ''conduct appears to be aberrational,'' Goldsmith said.
Seven former Toledo players in football and basketball have pleaded guilty to conspiracy. They accepted money, meals, groceries or gambling chips from Ghazi ''Gary'' Manni to alter their play or supply him with information about the Rockets or their opponents, generally from 2004 through 2006.
Adam Cuomo, a running back who recruited others, was ''first in,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Helland told the judge.
''It's a long story,'' Cuomo, a Toronto-area resident, said outside court. ''I had issues, gambling issues. I was depressed at the time. I made poor decisions.''
Two more running backs, Quinton Broussard of suburban Dallas and Harvey ''Scooter'' McDougle Jr. of Euclid, Ohio, were also placed on probation.
Broussard received more than $2,000 in cash or goods, including $100 to fumble in the 2005 GMAC Bowl. He tried to get another player to fix a 2006 football game against Iowa State, but the player declined.
I'm ''pretty sorry that it happened,'' said Broussard, who rushed for 1,285 yards and 13 touchdowns during his Toledo career.
Two former basketball players, Anton Currie and Sammy Villegas, were placed on probation last week. Two more former Rockets will be sentenced on April 7. Manni and another gambler will be sentenced on May 26.
Manni is likely to get a prison sentence of nearly six years, according to his plea deal.
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