“Now, Watergate does not bother me. Does yo’ conscience bother you…….tell the truth.” – lyrics from “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Move over Pete Rose. There’s a new gambler in town. His name is Brad Bohannon and he is, or rather “was,” the head baseball coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
We’ve now had a few days to process the shock waves subsiding from Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne deciding to initiate the “termination process” for Bohannon because of “suspicious gambling activity” and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo about Alabama’s ethical standards, etc.
Let’s cut to the chase. He made a big bet against his own team — or, at the very least, provided insider information for someone else to do so. Even Pete Rose, the disgraced former Cincinnati Reds manager and the MLB’s all-time leader in hits, never did that.
Shades of the Brandon Miller Situation
The Bohannon case is under investigation by the NCAA. However, in a gigantic make-up call for their breach of justice in the Brandon Miller case, Alabama has already made up its mind and named Jason Jackson as the interim head coach. Way to go, athletics director Greg Byrne. You’re an Oak.
In case you forgot, Byrne and Nate Oats swept the Brandon Miller case under the rug and in the process allowed one of the greatest perversions of justice in modern sports history to unfold. Miller got away unscathed and went on to become the SEC Player of the Year after being an accessory to murder, yet not getting charged. He might have escaped some prison time, but the Hogs didn’t escape his wrath when he dropped 24 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot on them in a late-February three-point loss in Tuscaloosa.
Eventually justice prevailed when the Hogs made it to the second weekend of March Madness for the third time in three years, which is also how far ‘Bama went before losing to San Diego State, who the Hogs beat in Hawaii. Somewhere, probably in Illinois, Jen Bielema is smiling.
In this baseball case, however, Byrne has proven that Alabama has changed its ways and simply does not tolerate any kind of immoral, unethical or illegal behavior by its players, coaches, or administrators…….said no one ever.
What Brad Bohannon Did
Here’s the deal: Brad Bohannon benched ace starting pitcher, Luke Holman, and gave sophomore Hagan Banks the start prior to their game against LSU last Friday. Banks hadn’t started since mid-March, but due to Holman’s “back tightness” he was to be first on the mound. At that point, Bohannon loaded up on the Bayou Bengals.
This was discovered when video surveillance footage at the sportsbook showed someone placing a very large bet (for college baseball) on the game. By pure coincidence, we’re sure, Bohannon was on the phone with this individual at the time the bet was placed at the sportsbook attached to the Cincinnati Reds’ ballpark (how’s that for some coincidence?). While we don’t know what they discussed, we can probably rest assured they avoided chewing on the global economic ramifications of not raising the debt ceiling. Who knew the monitoring services over sportsbooks raise an eyebrow when larger-than-normal bets are made?
This is part of a bigger trend of bigger betting on smaller sports like baseball, softball and volleyball. The president of a monitoring service that works with almost every major sports league and sportsbook told The Athletic that “college softball has seen a spike in money wagered after March in recent years because the softball season runs beyond the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s early-April conclusion and just as the NBA and NHL move into their postseasons. Bettors need new action, and smaller sports provide new opportunities.”
For a little while, the opportunity seemed to work out Bohannon. LSU beat Alabama 8-6 and we can assume he did his best to conceal his giddy smile during his postgame press conference as he silently counted his money. That should have changed this week and he now looks like an unethical, cheating douchebag who has no regard for the welfare of his players or the integrity of the game.
Good luck recovering from this one, coach. If he thought Bobby Petrino, Hugh Freeze and Bruce Pearl had trouble for a while, he ain’t seen nothing yet. It was bad enough that he mocked the Hog call after getting thrown out of Baum in a loss to the Hogs, but this one’s gonna hurt him.
In the early going, it even appears like a burden has been lifted from this Alabama baseball program’s shoulders. In taking taking two games vs No. 5 Vanderbilt this weekend, the Crimson Tide have won a series over a Top 5 team for the first time since knocking off Arkansas last spring.
The Crimson Tide now sit at No. 8 in the SEC. If that holds, it would be the best season in the conference for Alabama baseball since it finished tied for eighth with Kentucky in 2016.
Possible New Can of Worms
Without knowing every detail of the case, we’ll go ahead and assume that he’s not only guilty, but this is probably just the tip of the iceberg on account of him being an Alabama baseball coach. Seriously, it will be interesting to see how long this has been going on, or if anyone knew about it. All that could open a whole new can of worms.
The public may never know anything more than what it knows now, but we do know that getting fired from Alabama with a winning record in any sport is a pretty high bar to get over. If Nate Oats can keep his job after claiming his star player was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Bohannon must have also spit on Fordyce native Bear Bryant’s grave to be summarily dismissed within a week of an incident occurring.
Sports people will tolerate and give a second chance for a lot of things like an extra-marital affair, dalliances with young female members of the athletic department, recruiting transgressions, cockiness, stupid statements on social media, etc. However, what those of us who love sports of any kind will absolutely NOT tolerate is someone who sells out the game.
Personally, I hope Brad Bohannon is never allowed to coach another game.
Here’s more on the Alabama baseball situation:
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…