Eugene Bert Neff Jr., the Indiana man behind an NCAA betting scandal which led to the firing of University of Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon, was charged Wednesday with obstructing a federal grand jury investigation.
Neff has agreed to plead guilty to the charge as part of his plea agreement.
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for his obstruction charge in the NCAA betting scandal, according to a release from the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Alabama.
Neff was in direct communication with Bohannon as he unsuccessfully attempted to place a $100,000 wager on an Alabama baseball game in April 2023 at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Alabama sports betting penalty
On Thursday, the NCAA ruled that Bohannon violated wagering and ethical conduct rules.
He texted Neff prior to an April game against LSU:
“HAMMER … [Student-athlete 1] is out for sure … Lemme know when I can tell LSU… Hurry.”
As detailed in the release:
“Shortly after receiving the electronic messages from Bohannon, the bettor attempted to place a $100,000 wager on the LSU baseball team at the BetMGM sportsbook at the Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati but the sportsbook staff limited the bettor to a $15,000 wager. The bettor then attempted to place additional wagers involving the April 28 Alabama vs. LSU baseball game, but the sportsbook staff declined the wagers due to suspicious activity.
“This suspicious activity included the bettor’s insistent demeanor to get the bet placed and statements to sportsbook staff that the bet was ‘for sure going to win’ and ‘if only you guys knew what I knew.’ The suspicious activity also included the bettor showing sportsbook staff messages from Bohannon and explaining that the messages were Bohannon informing bettor that Alabama was scratching its starting pitcher before the game and before Bohannon alerted LSU.”
How NCAA chose to punish Bohannon
The NCAA elected to levy the following sanctions against Bohannon:
- Three years of probation.
- A $5,000 fine.
- A 15-year show-cause order for Bohannon. During the show-cause order, any employing member institution shall restrict Bohannon from any athletically related position. If Bohannon becomes employed during the show-cause period, he shall be suspended for 100% of the baseball regular season for the first five seasons of his employment.
- Alabama will retain EPIC Global Solutions to provide a comprehensive gambling harm and student-athlete protection education program for student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators.
NCAA betting charge described
US attorney Prim F. Escalona and FBI special agent in charge Carlton L. Peeples detailed in the release how the 49-year-old Neff attempted to impede their probe into his suspicious gambling activity.
“During the course of the scheme (May 2023-January 2024), Neff destroyed his cell phone, encouraged witnesses to destroy their cell phones and delete encrypted messaging applications, and provided false statements to federal investigators.
“The scheme culminated in October 2023 when Neff participated in a one-hour twenty-one-minute telephone call concerning topics related to the investigation with two witnesses the day before they were scheduled to testify before a grand jury in the Northern District of Alabama. All of this activity was designed to interfere with ongoing grand jury investigation.”
Neff barred from betting in Indiana
The Indiana Gaming Commission placed Neff on its involuntary exclusion list in September 2023. It permanently bars him from entering any casino or placing wagers at any sportsbook in the state.
In May 2023, the University of Cincinnati fired two of its baseball staffers, following a probe over possible NCAA violations. ESPN reported they had a link to Neff.
The court will set a date for Neff to enter his guilty plea, the release said.
NCAA betting probe in Iowa ongoing
There is also an NCAA betting probe going with University of Iowa and Iowa State University student-athletes.
However, that probe has been marred by a court filing stating the Department of Criminal Investigation utilized a “warrantless search” to obtain evidence. Additionally, a whistler-blower with the DCI said it used an “illegal search.”
The DCI has pushed back on that, however.