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NCAA Says USD Employees, Other Student-Athletes Not Involved In Point-Shaving Scandal

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The NCAA found no improper conduct on the part of employees or other student-athletes at the University of San Diego in connection with a point-shaving scandal in its men's basketball program, the school announced today.

The organization that runs college athletics opened its investigation after an extensive federal criminal case concluded earlier this year. The NCAA accepted USD's submission of a minor rules violation, according to the school.

"We are happy with the NCAA's conclusion of this matter and truly appreciate its review of this case in a thorough, efficient and timely manner,'' USD President Mary Lyons said.

Former star guard Brandon Johnson and ex-assistant coach Thaddeus "T.J.'' Brown were among 10 people indicted in 2011 for scheming to fix games in the 2009-10 season.

Johnson was sentenced in March to six months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge, in which he admitted that he unsuccessfully solicited another Toreros basketball player to participate in the game-fixing scheme. That action came at the direction of Brown, according to court records.

Johnson maintained that he never personally threw any games at his alma mater.

The court documents showed Johnson -- USD's all-time leading scorer in men's basketball -- was a willing accomplice in the game fixing scheme, making $5,000 to $10,000 to manipulate about four games.

Phone conversations secretly recorded by the FBI have Johnson saying he'd be willing to throw "every game.''

Following his arrest in April 2011, Johnson told agents that he knew the point spreads of games and admitted receiving several thousand dollars from bettors afterward, but denied throwing any games.

Brown also pleaded guilty to conspiracy for another member of the USD team to bettors in 2011, as part of an unsuccessful attempt to fix games after Johnson left the school.

The three primary defendants in the case -- Steve Goria, Richard Garmo and Paul Thweni -- all admitted bribing Johnson to fix USD games during the season in question.

Eight of those indicted pleaded guilty and charges against two others were dismissed.

"As I've stated before, game-fixing charges cut to the very core of what college athletics is about in regards to competition, integrity and fairness,'' said Ky Syder, the executive director of athletics at USD, which competes in the West Coast Conference.

"This was not a victimless crime,'' Snyder said. "Student-athletes have questioned how much of their career was real. Like we do every year, we will continue our commitment to educating our student-athletes and staff on the perils of sports wagering and to maintaining the highest ethical standards in our athletics programs.''

USD officials said letters were sent to Johnson and Brown, disassociating them from the university and its athletics program.

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