Alabama fires baseball coach Brad Bohannon amidst betting investigation

Published 12:28 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is firing baseball coach Brad Bohannon after a report of suspicious bets involving his team, with the school saying he violated “the standards, duties and responsibilities expected of university employees.”

The firing announced Thursday came three days after a report warning of suspicious wagers prompted Ohio’s top gambling regulator to bar licensed sports books in the state from accepting bets on Alabama baseball games. Pennsylvania also has asked its sports books to stop accepting bets on Alabama baseball.

Alabama said in a statement that athletic director Greg Byrne has initiated the process of firing Bohannon “for, among other things, violating the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of university employees.” Pitching coach Jason Jackson will serve as interim head coach.

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The university said there would be no further comment “pending an ongoing review.” Alabama had said Tuesday that it was looking into the report.

Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, issued an emergency order on Monday “prohibiting the acceptance of any wagers on University of Alabama Baseball effective immediately.”

The order said that one of the state’s “certified independent integrity monitors” notified the state about the wagers.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has issued a similar warning.

“We’ve, out of an abundance of caution, asked our operators not to offer wagers on Alabama baseball,” spokesman Doug Harbach said Thursday.

He said the board had received a report from Las Vegas-based U.S. Integrity warning sports books of suspicious wagering activity. According to ESPN, the concerns arose from Friday night’s Alabama-LSU game. Alabama scored five runs in the ninth inning of an 8-6 loss to LSU, which was ranked No. 1 in the major college baseball polls while Alabama was unranked.

U.S. Integrity declined to comment.

NCAA rules bar athletes and athletic employees from betting on games “and from providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition.”

The NCAA said it was aware of the situation and gathering additional information but said it couldn’t comment “on current, pending or potential investigations.” Alabama has said it became aware of the situation Monday evening.

Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, said in an emailed statement that state officials “did not see any irregular activity in betting on the LSU/Alabama baseball series.”

“The operators of all the national sports book platforms did not report any suspicious activity in Louisiana,” he wrote Wednesday. “The issue at hand originated in Ohio alone and the Ohio Gaming Commission took action to shut down any bets involving Alabama. LSU baseball has absolutely not been implicated in any suspicious betting activity and therefore there is no investigation of any sort involving LSU.”

U.S. Integrity monitors “data to see if discrepancies coincide with notable player or coaching events, reveal officiating abnormalities or are indicative of the misuse of insider information,” according to its website.

Bohannon went 166-124 in five-plus seasons, including a 30-15 record this season. In 2021, he led Alabama to its first NCAA regional since 2014.