Hardly a shocker, given the circumstances.
"I was in a unique position to pick the outcome of a game," he said in court. "I received cash payments for successful picks. Some of my picks included games I had been assigned to referee."
Donaghy, 40, also admitted he was being treated for a gambling addiction and was taking medication for depression and anxiety.
He denied prosecution claims that he bet on games himself.
Speaking almost in a whisper, Donaghy described to Judge Carol Bagley Amon how he passed on coded tips to the gambling ring.
Those "picks" were based on information he had "unique access" to, and included which crews would officiate games, interaction between officials and players and the physical condition of players.
Donaghy, a 13 year veteran who resigned July 9, described two occasions when he passed on insider information - and received payment.
He said he was paid only if his "picks" were successful. The former referee also must pay a $500,000 fine and at least $30,000 in restitution.