UTEP Men’s Basketball Rumored in FBI Investigation
It’s been 10 days since UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd suspended juniors McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland from the team for “a violation of team rules.” Since then, the Miners won two basketball games and lost an exhibition game. During the time of the suspension, rumors began circulating around the basketball community that both players were being investigated by the FBI. The problem has been that both UTEP and the FBI have not commented on the matter or confirmed a possible investigation.
Yesterday, Darren Hunt from KVIA-TV reported that UTEP officials are not saying a word about the suspension. I can add that members of the university athletic department have gone out of their way to avoid members of the El Paso media. In the last week, I have contacted UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull, Associate Athletic Director Chris Park, and Executive Vice President Richard Adauto. All three have not returned my calls or texts. Coach Floyd has been more upfront with the media, but he also refuses to comment in any capacity on the situation.
Also yesterday, KFOX-TV reported that sources have informed them that the FBI is investigating both Moore and Ragland. However, they offered no information as to what the investigation is involving. National websites like Deadspin and College Basketball Talk picked up on the story, but both were unable to shed any more light on the story.
The last time the FBI investigated a college basketball player was March 2012, when Auburn point guard Varez Ward was allegedly involved in point-shaving from two games in the 2011-12 season. Ward was indicted last June, but his trial was postponed to February 10th. If Ward enters a pretrial diversion program, his trial next month could be cancelled. There was also a well known point shaving scandal involving Arizona State’s Stevin Smith and Isaac Burton in 1994, and both served jail time for their involvement.
UTEP is holding a press conference at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at the President’s Office to comment on the matter for the first time publicly. Coach Floyd, Stull, and Adauto will all attend the news conference and hopefully provide some details into the investigation. It will also give the public some answers to the many questions they have since the story first broke.