UNC Greensboro on NCAA Probation After Ex-Coach, Former Staffer Gambled on Sporting Events

Posted on: July 26, 2019, 04:11h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2019, 05:32h.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced Thursday it placed the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) on a three-year probationary period after an investigation discovered two former members of the school’s athletic staff violated NCAA rules by betting on sports.

Two members of the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s athletic department placed wagers on the UNCG men’s basketball team. The NCAA gave the school three years probation as a result of the rules violation. The two staffers, who were fired, also received NCAA penalties. (Image: UNCG University Communications)

The infractions, which started in August 2017 and continued through April 28. included bets on the UNCG men’s basketball team by both an assistant coach of the women’s team and a staffer for the athletic department’s fundraising arm. Both employees were subsequently fired.

Emily James, an associate director of public and media relations for the NCAA, told Casino.org Friday that the governing body’s rules against sports betting include any wagers on amateur, collegiate, and professional events. Those prohibited include all student-athletes, all athletic department staffers, and any university employee whose responsibilities involve athletics. The latter example may include a school chancellor or president as well as a faculty member who sits on a school’s athletic board.

The NCAA report does not name the individuals, but the Greensboro News and Record identified Phil Collins as the former women’s basketball assistant coach and Brian Sturgeon as the former assistant director of the Spartan Club.

In addition to the probation, the NCAA levied a $15,000 fine on the school. Individually, Collins and Sturgeon were given “show cause” penalties, which means any NCAA institution wishing to hire them for a job within their athletic department.

What is ‘Show Cause’?

“Show cause” means a college could face penalties for retaining or hiring an individual under such a punishment. In addition, if that individual committed additional violations while the punishment was in effect, the institution could receive major sanctions.

Collins received a 15-year “show cause” penalty, a highly severe penalty.

According to the NCAA’s report, he admitted significant betting activity on college and pro sports. Specifically, he placed four on the Spartans men’s basketball team and included the team in about 10 parlay bets. Before he stopped his participation in the investigation last July, he estimated his gambling losses to be between $20,000 and $30,000.

The NCAA noted that he did not provide a list of his bets on two websites nor did he provide credit card statements that investigators requested.

“Based on the nature of the sports wagering violations coupled with the post-separation failure to cooperate violation, the enforcement staff believes a 15-year show cause order is warranted for the assistant coach,” the report stated.

The report also stated that Sturgeon cooperated with the investigation. According to the report, Sturgeon’s bet “five or less” times a week, with the total bet no more than $20 per week. He provided the NCAA a copy of his deposit and withdrawal records that showed a $200 deposit and no withdrawals.

Sturgeon agreed to a four-year show cause.

The report indicates that neither individual has been employed by an NCAA member since being terminated by UNCG.

Others Fired For Not Reporting, Investigating

According to the report, six members of the school’s athletic department knew of Collins’ betting, but they did not report the violation. A seventh member of the staff eventually found out but waited four months before reporting it to the department’s compliance officer, whose responsibility is to make sure the department abides by NCAA rules.

After receiving notice of possible violations, the assistant director failed to take any legitimate investigative steps or report the matter to other institutional officials or the enforcement staff,” the report stated. “As a result, the violations… continued through approximately May 22, 2018.”

The compliance officer was fired on Oct. 25, 2018, the investigation notes, for failing to investigate. Two members of the women’s basketball staff, who admitted they knew about the betting, were fired on June 22, 2018 for failing to report the violations.

A message to UNCG’s athletic department seeking comment was not returned Friday.