LAST YEAR, afterformer Toledo running back Harvey (Scooter) McDougle was charged withattempting to fix Rockets football and basketball games from 2003 to '06, UTpresident Lloyd Jacobs and Ohio attorney general Marc Dann appointed a specialcounsel to interview all Toledo football and basketball players. It was anattempt to increase control over an athletic department possibly rife withcorruption. Smart move: Last week federal prosecutors in Detroit chargedex--Rockets point guard Sammy Villegas with taking bribes to shave points inthe 2004--05 and 2005--06 seasons. If convicted, Villegas, 25, who now playsprofessionally in the Dominican Republic, faces up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors sayVillegas met with or talked by phone to an unnamed conspirator 10 times in 2005and '06 and that on Feb. 4, 2006, he intentionally missed free throws in a16-point win over Central Michigan. (Toledo was a 15 1/2-point favorite.) Thealleged scheme dovetailed with a senior slump in which Villegas, who averaged13.8 points as a sophomore, averaged only six points.
Villegas's playraised eyebrows even then. In January 2006 UT coach Stan Joplin told The ToledoBlade, "I just can't explain what has happened to Sammy." And R.J.Bell, of the betting website Pregame, says people in Las Vegas sensed somethingfishy: "I was getting two or three sources telling me to look out forToledo on a given night."
Villegas's agentsays his client is cooperating with authorities but wouldn't speak toreporters. Prosecutors did not set a trial date but did specify a sentencingdate of Nov. 18, an indication that Villegas may be close to a plea deal. A UTspokesman insists McDougle and Villegas were "isolated" cases. (Thecharges against McDougle were dropped, but authorities say an investigation isongoing.) "We did a pretty intensive review of the culture and ethos of ourprogram a year ago," the spokesman says, "and we have completeconfidence."
August 17, 2008
The Pop CultureGrid
|How do sports stars fit in?||The Jonas Brothers (below) remind me of ...||Favorite Olympian of all time||Number of pillows on your bed||______ used to be hot. Now, not so much||Manny is ...|
|D.J. Williams Broncos LB||A boy band that cares too much about hair||Flo-Jo (above)||At least 12. It's my mother's fault||Baggy clothes and big chains with your name onit||My idol|
|Juli Inkster LPGA||Screaming teenage girls||JJ Thomas||Seven||Walkmen||In Dodger blue. Gag!|
|T.J. Houshmandzadeh Bengals WR||My kids||Maurice Green and Michael Johnson||In training camp? One||Britney Spears||Very eccentric|
|Edgar Gonzalez Padres 2B||Nothing||Carl Lewis||Four||Britney Spears||Awesome|
Average price on the resale website StubHub of a ticket to a Jets 2008 homegame on Aug. 6.
Average price of a Jets ticket on StubHub on Aug. 7, the day Brett Favre wastraded to New York.
Combined winning percentage of the five NL West teams this season.
Combined winning percentage of the 2002 AL Central, the lowest full-seasondivisional mark since baseball realigned in 1994.
Amount pocketed by Ohio University offensive lineman Mike Eynon after taxes formatching five of six numbers in the Aug. 5 Mega Millions lottery.
Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt's career record against the Reds; the righty's .955winning percentage is the highest for any pitcher against a single team(minimum 20 decisions) in major league history.
Strikeouts by the Giants' Tim Lincecum this season, the most in the majors.
Years since a Giants pitcher has led the majors in strikeouts; Cy Seymour didit in 1898.