Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon fired after link to suspicious bets, sources say
Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired Thursday amid a widespread investigation into suspicious betting activity on the Crimson Tide’s game against LSU six days ago.
Sportsbook surveillance video indicated that the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time, multiple sources with direct information about the investigation told ESPN.
The school announced that athletic director Greg Byrne has “initiated the termination process” for Bohannon for “among other things, violating the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of University employees.”
Jason Jackson will serve as Alabama’s interim coach, according to the school, which said it will not provide further comment because of an “ongoing review.” The Crimson Tide won their first game under Jackson, defeating Vanderbilt 11-2 on Thursday night.
ESPN has reached out to Bohannon for comment.
The alleged suspicious activity took place Friday at the sportsbook at the Great American Ball Park, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
The OCCC’s investigation is centered on two bets on the Tigers to win from the same unidentified customer, multiple industry sources told ESPN. A source familiar with the investigation told ESPN’s Pete Thamel that there’s “no reason to believe any student-athletes are involved.”
Alabama’s scheduled starting pitcher, ace Luke Holman, was scratched before the LSU game because of back tightness and was replaced by sophomore Hagan Banks, who hadn’t started since March 16. LSU won the game 8-6.
The OCCC was alerted to the alleged activity Friday by independent Las Vegas-based integrity firm U.S. Integrity, which works with the OCCC and the SEC to monitor the betting market. U.S. Integrity alerted to its clients Friday, and the OCCC halted betting on college baseball games involving Alabama. The SEC has contracted with U.S. Integrity since 2018 and has used the firm to monitor all conference events, including baseball.
Indiana gaming regulators also were alerted to suspicious bets on the Alabama-LSU game that were placed with sportsbooks in the Hoosier State. Indiana has halted betting on Alabama baseball and instructed sportsbooks to refund any futures wagers on the Crimson Tide.
NCAA policy prohibits athletes, coaches and personnel from betting on sports.
“The NCAA takes sports wagering very seriously and is committed to the protection of student-athlete well-being and the integrity of competition,” a spokesperson for the NCAA said Thursday. “We will work with our partners to protect student-athletes and the sports they play. The association is monitoring the situation.
“Due to confidentiality rules put in place by NCAA member schools, the NCAA does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference also is investigating the situation, and reiterated its zero-tolerance policy on gambling.
“The University of Alabama has taken swift action after information about baseball sports wagering activity was questioned by industry regulators,” Sankey said in a statement Thursday. “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.”
Pennsylvania became the fourth state to order sportsbooks to halt betting on Alabama baseball, joining Ohio, Indiana and New Jersey as investigations continued. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said the ban on betting on Alabama baseball was put in place “as a matter of precaution” and will last until “further notice.”
Ronnie Johns, executive director of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, described one of the bets as “large” to NOLA.com and added that he didn’t suspect anything suspicious regarding LSU.
“The problem,” Johns told NOLA.com, “would have been whether someone on the Alabama side was suspicious of activity.”
Bohannon, who had been the Crimson Tide’s coach since June 2017, had a 166-124 record with one NCAA tournament appearance, in 2021. Twenty Alabama players were selected in the MLB draft during his tenure. The Crimson Tide were 30-15 this season under Bohannon.
Regular-season college baseball does not typically attract significant betting interest or large wagers. FanDuel said it didn’t take a single bet on the game, and other sportsbooks also reported minimal betting on it.