Arizona State University Point Shaving Scandal
Stevin Smith was the Sun Devils number 3 all-time scorer when he asked a teammate, Isaac Burton, to deliberately miss some free throws to hold down the score. Smith was in debt from gambling, and when Burton agreed what became a conspiracy to shave points in at least four games was born. The conspiracy eventually involved the two players, a former Arizona State student named Ben Silman and four others including Joseph Mangiamele, his father Dominic, both illegal bookmakers, Vincent Basso and Joseph Gagliano.
Silman was the mastermind of the scheme in which five games were to have been fixed by shaving points, accomplished successfully in four of them. Smith was in debt to Silman from gambling, and Silman suggested that the debt could be erased by point shaving in games. Smith later told Sports Illustrated that he shaved points off the spread while maintaining his own high scoring level by allowing the other team to score when he was on defense.
It was Silman who suggested that Smith have at least one accomplice on the floor, and Smith suggested it to Burton. According to Smith, on at least one game the other conspirators bet at least $1 million on the game in which they were unsuccessful in covering the spread. Smith was physically threatened if they were unable to win back what they lost. The amount of money being bet on the Arizona State games and the manner in which it was bet drew the attention of the FBI after again being informed of the activity by legal sports books. The FBI began investigating.
Rumors of Smith being investigated for illegal point shaving began before the season was over, and likely prevented him from being a high draft choice in the NBA. Smith and Burton later cooperated with investigators, and described the point shaving scheme in detail. Burton eventually received two months in jail and another six on home detention. Silman received 46 months in prison, and fines.
The Mangiameles also received jail time and home detention, and were fined. Arizona coach Bill Frieder resigned as a result of the scandal although there was no evidence of his involvement or awareness of the point shaving by his players. The exact amount of money Smith – who paid Burton out of his own share – was paid is disputed, but he admitted to having received $20,000 from Silman on several different occasions. Smith was sentenced to 366 days in prison for his role in the scandal.