The UTEP men’s basketball program has kicked off three players, including a starter, for gambling on sports but the school, on Jan. 7, said there is no evidence of point shaving or betting on Miners games.
McKenzie Moore, the Miners’ leading scorer, and reserves Jalen Ragland and Justin Crosgile were the three players booted out of the program. None of the players will play college basketball again as they received an automatic one-year suspension and will also lose a year of eligibility.
Moore and Ragland are juniors and Crosgile is a senior.
"To date, there was no indication that point shaving was involved. However, per NCAA rules, any type of sports gambling is prohibited and results in a one-year suspension and loss of a year of eligibility," the school said in a statement. "All three players are upperclassmen, and therefore their college basketball careers are over. They are no longer enrolled at UTEP and are no longer a part of our basketball program."
The school made the announcement on Tuesday following an FBI investigation.
"We evaluate every film and we did not suspect that they were betting on any UTEP events," Miners coach Tim Floyd said.
The FBI complimented UTEP for being proactive in addressing the issue.
"It's an ongoing investigation based on a referral from the El Paso Police Department, and the three gentlemen (Floyd, Adauto and Stull) who were at the press conference today," said Michael Martinez, FBI spokesman in El Paso. "We commend them on their prompt action and continuing cooperation."
Moore and Ragland was suspended in late December and missed the last two Miners’ games while Crosgile was allowed to play. Crosgile combined to knock down just 1-of-14 shots from the field for two points in those two games.
Moore was averaging 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while Ragland was averaging 3.7 points. Crosgile was averaging 5.4 points.
UTEP (10-5) has won five straight games and will host Charlotte (9-4) on Jan. 9. The 49ers are coing off a 88-72 victory over North Carolina A&T on Jan. 4, and have alternated wins in the last six games.
Charlotte has tremendous scoring balance with five players averaging over 10 points per game. Sophomore guard Shawn Lester leads the way at 13.8 ppg, followed by sophomore forward Willie Clayton (12.0 ppg), junior guard Pierria Henry (11.4 ppg), junior guard Terrence Williams (10.5 ppg) and sophomore center Mike Thorne Jr. (10.5 ppg). Tulane transfer Ben Cherry is shooting 51.1 percent (24-for-47) from three-point range.