Say it Ain't So, Joe: 10 Infamous Sports Cheating Scandals

1951 College Hoops Scandal
Chances are this 1951 sports magazine had a story on the college hoops scandal. Buyenlarge/Getty Images

With the Pete Rose scandal, there was no evidence that Rose intentionally played poorly or encouraged his players to do so, but so often gambling and point-shaving go hand-in-hand. This was the case in 1951, when a scandal rocked the world of college basketball.

Unlike the Black Sox scandal, the 1951 point-shaving scheme was incredibly precise. Players weren't just supposed to lose games; they were supposed to lose games by a certain number of points, so that gamblers would win the spread that they bet on [source: Goldstein].

In New York State, it's illegal to bribe an athlete to alter a game's outcome, so when Manhattan College player Henry Poppe approached teammate Junius Kellogg about taking part in the point-shaving scheme for $1,000, Kellogg went to the police. Kellogg became an informant, pretending to agree to the plan; Poppe introduced him to three fixers: Cornelious Kelleher and brothers Benjamin and Irving Schwartzberg [source: Goldstein].

Poppe told Kellogg to be sure and win the upcoming DePaul game by less than 10 points. After the game (which Manhattan won by three points), police arrested Poppe and teammate Jack Byrnes. Poppe said Byrnes had been involved in an earlier point-fixing scheme. A month later, more scandal erupted when three players from City College New York (CCNY) were arrested for bribery. A district attorney investigation eventually revealed that the point-shaving went far beyond just Manhattan and CCNY: Seven schools had players who were point-shaving, and they'd fixed a total of 86 games [source: Goldstein].

While fans still bet on basketball and there have been a few other, smaller-scale cheating scandals, college basketball hasn't seen anything as big since this debacle.