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What We Know About the Alabama Baseball Betting Scandal

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Just days after Ohio halted betting on Alabama baseball games, the university fired its head coach, Brad Bohannon.

Alabama has fired baseball coach Brad Bohannon just days after ESPN reported “suspicious wagering activity” related to the Crimson Tide baseball program. That suspicious activity had caused regulators in a number of states, starting with Ohio, to stop taking bets on the team’s games.

We don’t know much more than that right now, but here’s what the university said in a statement on Thursday:

“Alabama director of athletics Greg Byrne announced he has initiated the termination process for head baseball coach Brad Bohannon for, among other things, violating the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of University employees. Bohannon has been relieved of all duties and Jason Jackson will serve as the interim head coach. There will be no further comment at this time pending an ongoing review.”

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Alabama Baseball Scandal Timeline

This has all unfolded rather quickly, with just three days separating the initial ESPN report and Bohannon’s firing. Here’s a quick breakdown of all relevant events:

  • Aug. 2021: Alabama extends Bohannon’s contract to 2025. He earns a base salary of $275,000 with an annual talent fee worth an additional $225,000 this season.
  • April 28, 2023: No. 1 LSU defeats Alabama in the game that first caused concern among Ohio regulators.
  • Monday: ESPN reports Ohio has halted taking bets on Alabama baseball games
  • Tuesday: NOLA.com reports that LSU is not suspected of any wrongdoing
  • Wednesday Morning: New Jersey joins Ohio by announcing it will no longer take bets on Alabama baseball games
  • Wednesday Evening: SEC commissioner Greg Sankey releases a statement saying the conference is aware of the allegations
  • Thursday, 9 a.m.: Pennsylvania follows Ohio and New Jersey
  • Thursday, 10:20 a.m.: Al.com announces Alabama has fired Bohannon
  • Thursday, 7 p.m.: Alabama’s next scheduled game vs. Vanderbilt

What We Know About the Bets

This section has been updated to reflect recent reporting

There are two suspicious bets in question, according to NOLA.com. One was on a parlay that involved the LSU-Alabama game and the other was a large money line bet on LSU to win. Both bets were placed at the BetMGM sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. It’s important to note the Reds were out of town at the time.

ESPN reported on Thursday that surveillance video indicated the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time. Pete Thamel, also of ESPN, reports that there is no reason to believe Alabama student-athletes are involved in the scandal.

LSU was a -245 favorite to win the game at the time of the wagers. The Tigers jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the game and held off a late Crimson Tide rally to win 8-6. Luke Holman, who has a 3.15 ERA this season, was the scheduled starter, but Bohannon scratched him shortly before first pitch due to back tightness.

The Brad Bohannon Era

Bohannon finishes his Alabama career with a 166-124 overall record and a 48-91 mark in the SEC. While the latter leaves much to be desired, the Crimson Tide are 30-15 so far this year and within striking distance of .500 in-conference. They also hold two wins over top-10 teams this season.

Unfortunately for Bohannon and the university, this is the second scandal he’s been a part of this season alone. Former player Johnny Blake Bennett is currently suing Bohannon, interim coach Jackson, and athletic trainer Sean Stryker for allegedly mishandling his rib injury in 2019. Bennett says the injury occurred during mandatory strength training and the team denied him the proper care and advised him not to tell his parents of the injury.

NCAA and University Policy

Current NCAA bylaws prevent student-athletes and coaches from wagering on amateur, college, or professional sports. More relevant to this situation, it also prohibits them from providing relevant information to anyone involved in sports betting.

As for Alabama, the athletic department appears to take sports betting rules seriously. Football coach Nick Saban’s contract, which Boardroom analyzed last season, outlines that violating the NCAA’s gambling policies is grounds for termination with cause – – in other words, the fired coach would not be entitled to a buyout of his contract.

Surely more information will come out in the coming days, but until then, this serves as the first major college gambling scandal since the proliferation of legalized sports betting in the United States. Stay tuned.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.