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College Football Week 8 | In the Spotlight

Northwestern Focus of Investigation

October 25, 1998

A federal investigation of sports betting at Northwestern resulted in guilty pleas from six people, including three former student-athletes, and revealed a point-shaving scheme in basketball.

Now, federal investigators are scrutinizing at least two 1994 football games for possible point-shaving by Northwestern players, and charges could be handed down within weeks, according to a source familiar with the investigation who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

One of the games allegedly was a 1994 contest at Iowa's Kinnick Stadium. Midway through the third quarter, Northwestern was inside the one-yard line with a chance to cut into Iowa's 35-13 lead. But running back Dennis Lundy fumbled a handoff from quarterback Steve Schnur, losing the ball before reaching the line of scrimmage.

A Northwestern defensive player, Rodney Ray, allegedly knew Lundy had a gambling habit and complained openly that Lundy fumbled intentionally. A coach overheard Ray's accusation and an internal investigation was launched, the findings of which were quickly passed on to federal authorities.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office will only say they're still investigating sports betting at Northwestern. But the source confirmed the probe is focusing on a football season just one year before Northwestern's stunning Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl trip.

According to the source, the activities of Brian Ballarini, a former Northwestern quarterback turned campus bookie, "were central to what was going on" in the alleged football scheme.

Ballarini, 25, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the federal investigation. He declined to discuss his alleged role in football betting.

Authorities will not say if Lundy is a target of their investigation. He did not return telephone messages left at his home in Tampa, Fla.

Lundy did not play in the season's final game, against Penn State, after being confronted by school officials and admitting betting on college games other than Northwestern's.


It was a rough weekend for the Bowden family.

On Friday, Terry Bowden quit as Auburn's coach with a record of 47-17-1 in five-plus seasons.

Bowden's dad, Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, said he could not advise or counsel his son Friday because of the events surrounding the delay of the Seminoles' charter flight to Atlanta for their game against Georgia Tech. As the plane taxied down the runway, it experienced engine trouble and was called back to the terminal. Earlier, the same plane had taken Mississippi State's football team to Baton Rouge, La., for Saturday's game against LSU.

Nine Seminole players, including wide receiver Peter Warrick and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, asked to travel by bus to Atlanta and were allowed to do so. Bowden and the team departed by plane three hours after their scheduled departure.

Terry Bowden's situation was so unsettling, his brother, Tulane Coach Tommy Bowden, could not fully enjoy his team's 52-24 victory over Rutgers on Saturday, a win that gave the No. 22 Green Wave a 6-0 record.

"I'm glad the concentration is there with the staff," Tommy Bowden said, "because mine has been elsewhere lately."


Tulane players and their fans have reason to be happy. After all, the Green Wave is 6-0 for the first time since 1973.

That season, Tulane finished 9-3.

This season, the Green Wave could go unbeaten. Seriously.

Remember, Tulane is in mighty Conference USA and plays one of the weakest schedules among major colleges. Remaining games are against perennial powers Southwestern Louisiana (1-6), Memphis (1-6), Army (2-5), Houston (2-5) and Louisiana Tech (4-5).

"I feel like we are the number one team in the country, until somebody beats us," Tulane quarterback Shaun King said. "I wouldn't ever say another team is better than us."

Shaun, can you say O-H-I-O S-T-A-T-E?


Alabama Birmingham had the misfortune of meeting Virginia Tech the week after the No. 23 Hokies were embarrassed in a 28-24 loss to previously winless Temple.

Virginia Tech's defense dressed down the Blazers in a 41-0 win.

"It was just a total mismatch," Alabama Birmingham Coach Watson Brown said. "We couldn't handle them in any shape, form or fashion."


In case you missed it, Brian Shay of Emporia State (Kan.) became college football's career rushing leader on Saturday.

Shay ran for 213 yards and scored four second-half touchdowns in a 56-24 victory over Central Missouri State.

Shay's 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave him 6,367 career yards, breaking the mark of 6,320 by Johnny Bailey of Texas A&I (now Texas A&M Kingsville) from 1986-1989. Shay, who is 5 feet 9, 218 pounds, finished the day with 6,428 career rushing yards.

Shay added to his NCAA all-division career records for all-purpose yards (8,661) and 200-yard rushing games (15).

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