Bert Neff centers gambling investigations involving Alabama and Cincinnati baseball, sources say

An Indiana man whose son is a member of the University of Cincinnati baseball team is the punter at the center of separate investigations that led to the firing of Alabama coach Brad Bohannon and two Bearcats baseball staffers this month, two people familiar with the investigations said. The Associated Press Friday.

The people who identified Bert Neff of Mooresville, Indiana, as being connected to both the Alabama and Cincinnati cases spoke on condition of anonymity because neither was authorized to speak about the ongoing investigations.

A number listed as Neff’s cell phone was not accepting calls Friday.

No details were released by Alabama as to why Bohannon was fired after five years on the job. However, the dismissal came three days after a report warning of suspicious betting on an LSU-Alabama baseball game prompted Ohio’s top gaming regulator to ban state-licensed sportsbooks from accepting wagering on Tide games. Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed suit.

ESPN later reported that surveillance video from the bookmaker located at the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark indicated that the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time. ESPN cited multiple unnamed sources with direct information about the investigation.

One of the people familiar with the investigations told the AP on Friday that Neff was the person who placed those bets.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne has since said the university has not received any evidence that players were involved in the situation. A text message to Byrne from the AP on Friday was not immediately returned.

Alabama is participating in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament this week and is well positioned to reach the NCAA tournament.

Earlier this week, Cincinnati announced that assistant coach Kyle Sprague and director of operations Andy Nagel were relieved of their duties on May 17, about a week after the school opened an investigation into possible violations of the NCAA.

The school did not provide details of what was being investigated and said it would not comment further. Voicemail and text messages to Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham were not immediately returned.

But one of the people familiar with the situation told AP that contact with Neff was what led to the layoffs. It is not known if Neff bet on Cincinnati baseball games.

A third person familiar with the Cincinnati investigation told AP there was no indication that any games were being repaired or that Sprague or Nagel were betting on any games.

Neff’s son, Andrew, is listed as a pitcher on Cincinnati’s roster, but hasn’t played this season. The Bearcats’ season ended earlier this week when they were eliminated from the American Athletic Conference tournament.

One of the people familiar with the situation said Bert Neff was a youth coach at Indiana and had ties to college coaches through recruiting.

Sports Illustrated was first to report Neff’s involvement in the Alabama and Cincinnati baseball shootings.

The Cincinnati affair is the latest gambling-related scandal in college sports this month.

Less than a week after Bohannon was fired, the University of Iowa said 26 of its athletes in five sports were suspected of betting on sports in violation of NCAA rules. Its interstate rival, Iowa State, has admitted that about 15 of its athletes in three sports are also suspected of violating the rules of the game.

NCAA rules prohibit athletes, coaches and staff from betting on amateur, collegiate and professional sports in which the NCAA holds a championship. The rules are under scrutiny as legalized gambling spreads across the country, and the NCAA said this week it plans an athlete-only investigation into the matter.

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