It's been an entertaining year to follow Tim Floyd's UTEP Miners. Floyd and his staff have feuded with Andy Enfield and his staff at USC, members of the staff apparently engaged in a tussle at a tournament earlier this season. Then, a few days ago, came word that the FBI was investigating several UTEP players, all of whom had been suspended. That's never a good look.
Initially reports were that two players, McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland, had been suspended indefinitely for violations of team rules, that most vague of all phrases. Then word began to trickle out that the Federal B.I. was spending some time at the Haskins Center. If you have your choice these days between the NCAA or the FBI sniffing around, take the NCAA every time. Just ask Alabama. Now a third player has been added to the mix, Justin Crosgile, and all three players have been dismissed from the team. Apparently the three were gambling on college sports, though not on their own team.
"To date, there was no indication that point shaving was involved. However, per NCAA rules, any type of sports gambling is prohibited and results in a one-year suspension and loss of a year of eligibility," the school said in a statement. "All three players are upperclassmen, and therefore their college basketball careers are over. They are no longer enrolled at UTEP and are no longer a part of our basketball program."
The FBI has given props to UTEP for its handling of the case. "It's an ongoing investigation based on a referral from the El Paso Police Department, and the three gentlemen (Coach Tim Floyd, Executive Vice President Richard Adauto and Athletic Director Bob Stull) who were at the press conference today," said Michael Martinez, FBI spokesman in El Paso. "We commend them on their prompt action and continuing cooperation."
Moore was UTEP leading scorer, not it matter's but you know...sports and stuff. Crosgile it should be noted was 1-14 from the field this year. That shouldn't matter either except that various news outlets have seen fit to throw that stat line in their stories on the controversy. Hope your percentage of picking winners was better Justin.
The Miners are winners of five straight and are 10-4 overall heading into the heart of C-USA play. Betcha they struggle a little bit from here on in. (See what I did there.)