Posted on: June 2, 2023, 10:03h.
Last updated on: June 2, 2023, 10:33h.
Cincinnati baseball coach Scott Googins has stepped down after spending the last six seasons as the manager of the Bearcats. The move comes amidst a betting scandal linked to Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon.
Bohannon provided insider information to the father of a Cincinnati baseball player. The father then placed suspicious wagers on an Alabama/LSU college game that was played at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Googins becomes the second NCAA head coach and the third staffer from Cincinnati to lose their job in the wake of the betting scandal and looming NCAA investigation.
I want to thank Coach Googins for his time and commitment to the Bearcats,” said Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham via a statement. “We have begun a national search for a new head coach, and we are excited about the future of Cincinnati baseball.”
In mid-May, Cincinnati launched its own internal investigation into the incident. As a result, the school dismissed assistant coach Kyle Sprague and Director of Operations Andy Nagel. Sprague and Nagel had knowledge that the parent of one of their players made a wager on the Alabama/LSU game.
Googins was unaware of any suspicious betting activity, but he resigned before Cincinnati had a chance to fire him.
Quick Recap of the Bama Baseball Betting Scandal
In May, Ohio gaming authorities were alerted to suspicious betting at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati during an NCAA baseball game between Alabama and LSU.
Alabama’s Bohannon scratched starting pitcher Luke Holman because of back stiffness. Hagan Banks instead took the mound, replacing one of Alabama’s top pitchers. Bohannon tipped off a friend about his last-minute pitching change. Bohannon’s buddy placed large wagers on LSU to win the game at a sportsbook located inside Great American Ballpark.
Alabama lost, 8-6, with Banks as the starter.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission used surveillance video to confirm that Bohannon chatted with the bettor who eventually placed wagers on Alabama to lose.
Bert Eugene Neff Jr., the father of Cincinnati pitcher Andrew Neff, was revealed as the bettor and Bohannon’s conspirator.
After the game, Ohio sportsbooks barred their customers from wagering on any Alabama baseball games for the rest of the season. Indiana’s state regulators also noticed suspicious betting activity on the game, and they also ceased any future action on Alabama games.
Investigators didn’t link any college baseball players to this scandal.
Betting scandals involving college sports are common in basketball and football, but it’s rare that baseball is the primary sport involved. College basketball was rife with betting scandals involving organized crime as far back as the 1950s in New York City. Point-shaving scandals featuring Arizona State and Northwestern also occurred in the 1990s.
In early May, the NCAA notified Iowa and Iowa State that some of their student athletes were caught up in an investigation for violating gambling regulations.
Googins: Queen City Baseball Legend
Googins has strong ties to the city of Cincinnati and spent 12 years as the head baseball coach at Xavier University. In 2018, Googins was named the head coach of the University of Cincinnati, which is Xavier’s bitter crosstown rival in the Queen City.
Gogins led Xavier to four trips to the NCAA tournament, including back-to-back appearances in the regional finals in 2016 and 2017 to secure a trip to the World Series in Omaha. Eleven members of the Xavier baseball team who played under Googins were selected in the MLB Draft. His success at Xavier landed him the Cincinnati job and a significant pay raise.
Cincinnati was a national basketball powerhouse with two national championships and six Final Four appearances. Their football program has taken huge strides in recent years, which is the primary reason why Cincinnati will join the Big 12 in 2024. Their baseball program isn’t as prominent as their basketball and football teams.
Googins elevated Cincinnati’s struggling baseball program by winning the 2019 American Athletic Conference tournament championship. In the same season, Cincinnati secured an appearance in the NCAA regional tournament, which was a precursor to the College Baseball World Series. Googins led Cincinnati to its first NCAA regional appearance in 45 years.
During his six-season tenure with Cincinnati, Googins led the Bearcats to an overall record of 143-156.
Under Googins this season, Cincinnati had a losing record at 24-33.