Alabama fires head coach Brad Bohannon amid betting investigationCoaches Corner
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Alabama terminated head baseball coach Brad Bohannon on Thursday for ‘violating program standards’ after he was believed to be in connection with suspicious betting activities. His firing comes just days after sportsbooks in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey halted betting on any Alabama baseball games after they found suspicious activity tied to a specific bet from last Friday’s contest between the Crimson Tide and top-ranked LSU.
Sources also told D1Baseball.com on Thursday that no players are thought to be involved in this and that the investigation is focused on Bohannon. ESPN.com’s David Purdum, who originally broke this story on Monday, also reported that video surveillance directly ties Bohannon to the person making the bets.
University of Alabama athletic director had this to say in a statement:
“We have initiated the termination process for head baseball coach Brad Bohannon, for, among other things, violating the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of University employees.
“Bohannon has been relieved of all duties and Jason Jackson will serve as the interim head coach. There will be no further comment at this time pending an ongoing review.”
The bets in question involve last Friday’s game between Alabama and LSU. In that game, Alabama was expected to start righthanded pitcher Luke Holman against the Tigers. However, the Crimson Tide scratched him from his start a couple of hours before the game. The bet in question involves a large sum of money on a parlay and a money line bet — both involving Alabama and LSU. That triggered an investigation into some suspicious activity. It’s worth noting that LSU was a -245 favorite.
Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey said the league office was investigating this matter as well, and commended the university for swift action.
“The University of Alabama has taken swift action after information about baseball sports wagering activity was questioned by industry regulators. Ensuring the integrity of athletic competition is our highest priority, and for that purpose the SEC monitors gambling activity through its relationship with US Integrity and has done so since 2018.”
“There must be zero tolerance for activity that puts into question the integrity of competition. We will remain in communication with the University throughout its ongoing review and will have no further comment at this time.”
The dismissal of Bohannon and the severity of this situation couldn’t come at a worse time for the Alabama baseball team. Sitting at 30-15 overall and 9-12 in the SEC, the Tide hosts Vanderbilt in a crucial series this weekend that could determine their postseason fate. This comes after the Tide missed the NCAA tournament last season with a 31-27 overall record and 12-17 mark in SEC play, causing some around the Tide athletic department to work back channels to see which head coaches might be available should they decide to make a change. On top of the gambling issues, the Crimson Tide program and Bohannon dealt with drama already this season when former player Johnny Blake Bennett sued Bohannon and athletic trainer Sean Stryker for alleged negligence for how they handled an injury.
In his six seasons with the program, Bohannon went 166-124 overall and guided the program to a single NCAA tournament appearance.
But most important at this point is his ability to coach in Division I Baseball again. It’s one thing for Bohannon to be fired for something like a lack of institutional control, which could be the case. However, if there was something nefarious going on with Bohannon and gambling, that would cause a myriad of issues that would likely torpedo his coaching career, and also could spill into the legal side of things.
Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
As it stands, Alabama now heads into a crucial three-week stretch of the season that will determine its postseason fate. And they’ll have to do it without its head coach.
The worst news? This story is far from over.