The CCNY Point Shaving Scandal
Although known as the CCNY scandal, the 1951 investigation which originated in New York involved more than thirty players and several schools, and was tied to organized crime figures in New York and the Midwest. The schools involved included CCNY, which in 1950 won both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments, the only time that has ever been achieved. The other schools were New York University, Manhattan College, Long Island University, Bradley University, the University of Toledo, and the University of Kentucky.
The more than thirty players who admitted to participating in the scandal both shaved points and deliberately dropped games at the behest of gamblers linked to organized crime figures in New and Chicago from 1947 through 1950. More than eighty games were fixed across 17 states. Many of the players, in addition to being paid for throwing games, bet illegally on games in which they were playing and others based on information from their contacts.
Salvatore Sollazzo was a jeweler in New York, and the source of the money used to bribe players in the four New York area schools. Three other New York area bookmakers were also involved, as well as several gamblers. In October of 1951 it was revealed that three Kentucky players had accepted bribes to shave points in an NIT game played in Madison Square Garden against Loyola of Chicago in 1949. The three players were arrested. Later another player was indicted for perjury in New York, suspended from the Kentucky team, and Kentucky basketball was suspended by the NCAA for the 1952-53 season.
The majority of the players involved in the game fixing and point shaving scandal which rocked the sport in 1951 received suspended sentences, with the remainder receiving relatively light sentences. Many of the players were able to have charges dropped in return for cooperating with the authorities. Most of the fixers and gamblers involved in the scheme received short sentences, although Sollazzo was sentenced to 8 to 16 years for his role. Nearly all of the players were banned by the NBA.
OF the schools involved, none of the New York Schools ever returned to being major powers in college basketball, with CCNY downplaying its athletic programs and dropping to Division III. Long Island University closed its athletic program until 1957. Kentucky returned to basketball in 1953-54. Only Kentucky and Bradley have finished a season ranked in major national polls since the scandal. Toledo would go on to additional scandals involving more than one sport.