Alabama baseball found itself in a world of hurt yesterday upon the firing of head coach Brad Bohannon for ‘violating (his) standards, duties, and responsibilities’ amidst a gambling scandal. However, interim coach Jason Jackson then found himself in a delicate situation as he still had to get the Crimson Tide ready for a game last night.
Jackson opened his postgame press conference by sharing his message to the team ahead of last night’s game against Vanderbilt. He said that he told the players to not let the situation surrounding Bohannon to get to them. At that moment, he just wanted them focused on their ‘business’ and getting the job done inside Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“I just kind of told them ‘business as usual’, man. You guys have done a great job all year (of) taking care of business. You go out, you play your game. That was what we were gonna do tonight,” Jackson said. “Nothing changes. Everything we want to accomplish is right here in front of us. You guys have been playing your tails off. We’re gonna get out and play our tails off again tonight.”
“That was the basic message. (We) didn’t really say a whole lot,” said Jackson.
Jackson very obviously didn’t need to say much based on their performance on Thursday night. The Tide ended up crushing the Commodores 11-2 in Tuscaloosa in the first matchup of their series. 10 hits, including three home runs, from them helped lead to the high-scoring affair.
After that, the team has now pushed their overall record for the year to 31-15.
Still, losing their head coach was no small matter, which speaks even more to how they played amidst the controversy. That likely won’t stop either as the story around Bohannon’s role in the gambling scandal that cost him his job following their series against No. 1 LSU continues to grow.
This will be a story that follows Alabama over the course of the rest of their season. Even so, it seems that Jackson was able to help them channel their energy the right way last night and will look to get a similar effort from them in the next two games against the Commodores to close the series.
ESPN reports new detail in betting investigation that led to Bohannon’s firing
According to reporting from ESPN’s David Pardum, the person who placed two flagged bets was ‘communicating with Bohannon (during) the time’ they placed the bets.
Bohannon’s involvement was enough to lead the program to fire him. The school’s statement announcing the termination didn’t link it to the betting investigation directly, though. Instead, it cited violations of the standards, duties and responsibilities of university employees.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission first reported ‘suspicious wagering activity’ at the BetMGM sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. An independent integrity firm flagged it as multiple states halted bets on Alabama baseball, according to ESPN.
According to Ronnie Johns, the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, two bets were under scrutiny. That included one large bet via a report from NOLA.com.
“There were a couple of bets made in Cincinnati, Ohio,” said Johns during the report. “One was on a parlay which involved the LSU-Alabama game. And then there was another straight-up (money line) bet. I was told it was a large bet that involved LSU-Alabama.”
Johns confirmed the bets were on the Tigers to win, leading him to believe the suspicious activity didn’t come from the LSU side.
“That in itself indicates that there’s definitely no suspicious activity on the part of LSU,” Johns said. “You don’t typically suspect the team that was picked to win the game. The problem would have been whether someone on the Alabama side was suspicious of activity.”
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