CCNY point shaving scandal

The CCNY point shaving scandal of 1950–51 was a college basketball point shaving gambling scandal that involved seven schools in all, with four in Greater New York and three in the Midwest. However, most of the key players in the scandal were players of the 1949–50 CCNY Beavers men's basketball team.


The scandal involved the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Invitation Tournament (NIT) champion City College of New York (CCNY). CCNY had won the 1950 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1950 National Invitation Tournament over Bradley University. The scandal involved the Beavers and at least six other schools, including three others in the New York City area: New York University, Long Island University and Manhattan College. It spread out of New York City to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois; the University of Kentucky and the University of Toledo. The scandal would spread to 33 players and involve the world of organized crime. CCNY was eventually banned from playing at Madison Square Garden, although the coach, Nat Holman, would be cleared of any wrongdoing.[1][2][3]

How the scandal first came to lightEdit

Junius Kellogg, a standout 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) Manhattan College center, was offered a $1,000 bribe to shave points before a game against DePaul. Although he was working for minimum wage at a frozen custard shop near campus, he refused to take the money and reported the solicitation to his coach, Ken Norton. Norton sent him to the District Attorney. To get evidence about the corruption, he wore a wire when he was again approached in a nearby bar.[4] The scandal first became public when New York City District Attorney Frank Hogan arrested seven men on charges of conspiring to fix games on February 18, 1951. Those taken into custody included All-America forward Ed Warner, center Ed Roman, and guard Al Roth, the three stars of CCNY's five that won both the NIT and NCAA tournaments, still the only such double in history. The police had set up an undercover, or "sting", operation.[5] The arrests were made in Penn Station when the players returned to New York from Philadelphia, after CCNY had defeated Temple, 95–71. In all, 32 players from seven colleges admitted to taking bribes between 1947 and 1950 to fix 86 games in 17 states.[4] Jack Molinas would not be caught in 1951, but after he was suspended for gambling by the NBA, he would be linked back to the 1951 scandal by betting on his then college team, Columbia University.[6]


The scandal had long-lasting effects for some of the individuals involved, as well as college basketball itself. Long after the scandal was over, coaches would warn their players what could happen to their lives if they chose to make some "fast money" now.[7]

While Kentucky was forced to cancel one season of play (1952–53), it was the only program that was not permanently hobbled by the scandal. To date, Bradley is the only other affected school to have appeared in a final major media poll. However, none of the programs would suffer more than CCNY and LIU. Following the discovery of several other irregularities, CCNY deemphasized its athletic program and dropped down to what is now Division III. LIU shut down its entire athletic program from 1951 to 1957, and did not return to Division I until the 1980s.


In 1998, George Roy and Steven Hilliard Stern, Black Canyon Productions, and HBO Sports made a documentary film about the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal, City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal, that appeared on HBO.[8][9]

The story is also detailed in The First Basket, a 2008 documentary covering the history of Jewish players in basketball.

Pop culture referencesEdit

The scandal is referenced in the HBO series, The Sopranos, during the episode "Rat Pack", which was the second episode of the fifth season, first broadcast on March 14, 2004. After learning of the death of New York mob boss Carmine Lupertazzi, Corrado "Junior" Soprano confirms that Lupertazzi invented point shaving for "CCNY versus Kentucky, 1951. Nobody beat the spread. I bought myself a black Fleetwood."

Jay Neugeboren's 1966 novel Big Man is based on what happens to an All-American African American basketball star five years after he was caught in this scandal.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY. "The 1951 Basketball Scandal" Archived 2007-12-05 at the Wayback Machine - The City College Library - City College of New York
  2. ^ Goldstein, Joe. "Explosion: 1951 scandals threaten college hoops" - ESPN - November 19, 2003
  3. ^ Conrad, Mark. "Sportslaw History: The City College Scandal" Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine - Mark's Sportslaw News
  4. ^ a b Junius Kellogg is dead at 71 Refused bribe in '50s scandal, The New York Times, Frank Litsky, September 18, 1998. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  5. ^ "The Big Money" - Time Magazine - February 26, 1951
  6. ^ Goldstein, Joe. "Explosion II: The Molinas period" - ESPN - November 19, 2003
  7. ^ Callahan, Tom. "When Scandals Do Not Scandalize" - Time Magazine - November 30, 1981
  8. ^ Roy, George, and Steven Hilliard Stern. City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. - Time Warner - Black Canyon Productions, and HBO Sports. March 24, 1998.
  9. ^ City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. - IMDb

Further readingEdit

  • Rosen, Charles (1978). Scandals of '51: How the Gamblers Almost Killed College Basketball. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 003040701X.
  • Shapiro, Edward (2007). "The Shame of the City : CCNY Basketball, 1950–51". In Kugelmass, Jack (ed.). Jews, Sports, and the Rites of Citizenship. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 175–192. ISBN 0-252-07324-X.
  • Wilner, Barry; Rappoport, Ken (2014). Crazyball: Sports Scandals, Superstitions, and Sick Plays. Taylor Trade Publishing. pp. 53–60. ISBN 1589799127.

External linksEdit