On Tuesday afternoon, UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd, UTEP athletic director Bob Stull, and executive vice president Richard Adauto met the local media to address the suspensions of two Miner basketball players. Adauto read the following statement to the media:

“Last month, we received information that two men’s basketball players may have been betting on sporting events.  Immediately Director of Athletics Bob Stull, men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd and Richard Adauto from the President’s Office reported these allegations to university police and the FBI.  Law enforcement authorities conducted a thorough investigation and determined that three men’s basketball student-athletes – Justin Crosgile, McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland – participated in betting on one or more sporting events.  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.  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 dismissal of Moore, Ragland, and Crosgile ends a tumultuous week of rumors and speculation. On Saturday, December 28th, both Moore and Ragland were absent from the team in their game against Western Illinois during the first night of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitation. Coach Floyd told the media after the game that both players were suspended for a “violation of team rules.” Since New Year’s Eve, whispers began swirling around El Paso that Ragland and Moore were being investigated by the FBI. At the same time, rumors of alleged point shaving began to spread. While this was happening, the university was avoiding any contact with the media and they refused to comment on the players’ status. Last Saturday night, Crosgile was absent from the UTEP lineup, but everyone assumed that he was getting a rest since the Miners played an exhibition game against Angelo State. Nobody knew that he had also been part of the sports betting scandal.

Their dismissal from the team is a huge blow to a UTEP squad that was already weak at the guard position. The loss of Moore and Crosgile will hurt the team the most. Moore was their best player, leading scorer, and UTEP’s main option at point guard. Crosgile also had prior Division 1 experience at point guard, and displayed the ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter. The only players remaining at the guard position with any in-game experience are juniors C.J. Cooper and Tevin Caldwell. Both players are not natural point guards and Coach Floyd will need to find out which players can effectively handle the basketball for the Miners as they prepare for Conference USA play. Freshman guard Josh Brown, junior guard Victor Mbachu, and senior guard Tyler Tafoya might all see playing time out of necessity.