Lately within the world of College Sports in the United States, there has been a rise in the investigations and penalties related to the playing and outcome of the sporting games. Despite this, it seems there is very minimal threat of integrity of the game, similar to nature as removing points from guilty teams.
The issue of gambling within the sport has risen once again in relation to last weeks reported investigation into suspended Auburn basketball player, Varez Ward, with his possible infringement in the sport. It was alleged that he had participated within a point-shaving scheme. Alongside this, the FBI report also stated some strong questions and statements related to the manipulation of the sporting games and the relation to point spreads that are having an impact.
“It's very difficult to say how common it is because you don't know how many people are doing it and not getting caught,” said David Schwartz, the current director of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research.
“It's almost a perfect storm for criminal conspiracy when you've got young athletes with uncertain futures who may be financially vulnerable and, the rationale would be, they're not going to be really hurting anybody if they shave a few points or lose by a few more. There's a lot of potential for illegal bookies or even legal sports books to make a lot of money from this.”
Justin Wolfers, an associated professor with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, particular with business and public policy, has studied over 40,000 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball games and also point spreads that range from the years 1989 to 2005. He produced a report detailing his findings in 2006 which revealed his research into the issues of manipulation of the game, claiming one percent or 500 games had involved ‘gambling-related corruption’ and also that six percent of the stronger teams had players who were willing to manipulate their performances.
This report gained its standing from statistical analysis which showed that teams favoured by 12 points were having too many 10- and 12- point wins, with few resulting in 13- and 14- point wins, though stated that his study did not prove and form of point shaving.
“There's no proof in such forensic statistics, merely suggestive patterns, but they were very suggestive.” Wolfer stated in an email.
Another but less common form of point shaving involves the underdog (less favoured) team being paid bribes in order to manipulate their performances and deliberately lose by more than the specified point spread. This form of point shaving is currently being investigated by the FBI on Varez Ward, who has denied any wrong doing.
It has been stated that there are two types of point shaving players; those who want money and those who are gambling addicts.