Your item on
possible point-shaving implicated players only (Scorecard, March 27), but as we
have seen with German soccer, officials also can throw games. In basketball
many foul calls are discretionary. What an easy way for a crooked referee to
cover his tracks.
Henry Holt III, Winston-Salem, N.C.
I commend SI for
raising concerns about point-shaving in college basketball and describing NCAA
efforts to prevent it. We at the NCAA look at the statistical methods you
described as a supplement to the extensive survey data on wagering collected
from our student-athletes. We hope future research will better isolate the
reasons that large favorites cover less often than expected. While the person
you interviewed would like to attribute the finding completely to corruption,
scholars in the field have strong evidence that the heavy-favorites effect is
pervasive in gambling and is more a reflection of how novice gamblers bet their
money in these types of situations.
Thomas S. Paskus, Indianapolis
Principal Research Scientist, NCAA
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