SCANDALS OF '51 by Charles Rosen


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I'm a big fan of yours,"" a gambler would announce, tucking a 20-dollar bill into his handshake with a college basketball player in the early Fifties. From there, it didn't seem such a big step to arranging the point spread to suit the gambler's wagering, and the gamblers, it seems, met with little resistance. The scandals were first exposed at CCNY, where Nat Holman's team was then the toast of New York, drawing huge crowds to Madison Square Garden and elevating basketball to something of a local obsession. Five of the team's starting players were arrested by longtime Manhattan D.A. Frank Hogan, several were actually jailed along with the offending gamblers, and the newspapers made hay of the players' gleanings. From New York the scandal spread--teams like Kentucky, LIU, Toledo, and Manhattan were all implicated, and there's considerable speculative brouhaha here about the whys and wherefores of the fixing. For the most part, Rosen's book is a recap with quotes from whiny survivors of the scandal; ""There was absolutely no justice,"" claims Ralph Beard, now 48. ""If taking the money makes you guilty, then I'm guilty. . . . But in my heart, I still know I'm innocent."" Only those who remember will want to go through the ordeal again.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1978
ISBN: 1888363916
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston