Ex-San Diego star accused in bribery plot

April, 12, 2011
4/12/11
1:48
PM ET
Brandon Johnson led San Diego to its most famous win. In the 2008 NCAA tournament, the No. 13-seeded Toreros knocked off Connecticut in a first-round overtime game that saw Johnson rack up 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. He played in all 45 minutes.

Johnson went on to become the school's all-time leading scorer even though he had an infant son to raise.

According to USA Today, Johnson considered transferring to a school closer to his native Houston after the birth of his son before coach Bill Grier gave him advice.

"I told him that the best thing he could do for his child was to finish his education at USD," Grier told the paper in 2008. "I also told him if he had two good years, he will get the opportunity to play professionally. He took a day to think about it and said, 'You're right, Coach.'"

But on Monday, federal authorities accused Johnson of accepting a bribe to influence a San Diego game in 2010 while he was a fifth-year senior in a season that the NCAA granted to him due to an Achilles tendon tear. They also said Johnson, while playing in the NBA development league, solicited someone to influence a Toreros game this season. U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Johnson "was intricately involved in both the illegal gambling business and in the sports bribery schemes."

In response, the NCAA released a statement saying it was "extremely concerned" about the point-shaving allegations and cited its own research showing that 1.6 percent of Division I men's basketball players have been asked to affect the outcome of a game. And that's just the number of cases that players have reported.

The NCAA also noted this: "Those involved in organized gambling view student-athletes, especially those in financial trouble, as easy marks for obtaining inside information or for affecting the outcome of a game."

Johnson was arrested on Saturday in Houston, and he was one of 10 whom authorities sought to take into custody. The investigation continues while they each have been charged and face up to five years in prison.

It's not exactly a shining moment for the NCAA, and one has to wonder where it all went wrong for Johnson.
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