March 8, 2012
FBI reportedly investigating Auburn player on point-shaving
By SPORTS XCHANGE
The FBI has been investigating suspended Auburn point guard Velez Ward as part of a point-shaving probe, Yahoo Sports! reported Thursday using unnamed sources.
The FBI has been looking into Ward’s activities since late February, and the sources told Yahoo! Sports that the investigation is focusing on two games - Auburn’s 68-50 loss to Alabama on Feb. 7 and the Tigers’ 56-53 road loss to Arkansas on Jan. 25.
Ward and teammate Chris Denson were suspended by coach Tony Barbee for the Feb. 25 home game against Arkansas. Denson was questioned in the probe, but has been cleared. Other players have been questioned regarding whether Ward tried to enlist them in a point-shaving scheme.
Denson was reinstated after that one-game suspension, but Ward was never reinstated.
Ward started 17 of the 27 games in which he played and averaged 8.9 points, third highest on the team. But his playing dwindled from the start of the season.
In the Feb. 7 loss to Alabama, Ward played 17 minutes and scored three points. He was 1-for-5 from the field and 1-for-2 from the foul line, while committing six turnovers with two assists. He averaged 2.7 turnovers a game.
One of his missed shots was an airball, and with Auburn behind 43-33 with 15:25 left, Ward committed two turnovers in 21 seconds. When he returned later in the game, he committed two turnovers in less than three minutes.
Alabama was a 5-point favourite in the game, and covered the spread with the 18-point victory.
Arkansas was a 9 1/2-point favourite in the Jan. 25 game against Auburn. Ward entered that game with 14:25 to play and turned the ball over 19 seconds later. Ward fell to the floor on the play and left the game limping.
Nonetheless, Auburn lost the game by just three points, thus covering the spread.