Big Ten Statement on Football Officiating
Aug. 8, 2008
In December 2007, published reports cast suspicion on the integrity of two Big Ten football games that were played during the 2007 season; specifically, the Purdue-Penn State game and the Ohio State-Illinois game. The reports were based on certain information related to the personal background of a Big Ten football official, Steve Pamon. Some of the articles also reported that a disproportionate amount of money allegedly had been bet on the games called into question. None of the articles presented evidence that Pamon had ever gambled on sports. The articles also did not directly allege that the games had been compromised by any of the officials who worked the games.
The Big Ten’s longstanding written policy strictly prohibits officials from engaging in any form of legal or illegal gambling or wagering related to any intercollegiate, professional or amateur sports activities of any kind. The conference has conducted and completed a thorough investigation of the questions raised by the articles regarding the officiating of the two games during the 2007 season. This investigation included, among other things, working with representatives of law enforcement, outside legal counsel, a private investigative firm, Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Inc., and the NCAA’s Agents, Gambling, and Amateurism staff. The conference also spoke with Pamon. In the final analysis, the conference has found no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the integrity of either 2007 game discussed in the published reports was compromised.
Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany has issued the following statement regarding the matter:
“Upon the conclusion of our investigation, the Big Ten is secure in its belief that these games were not compromised. We thank law enforcement, the NCAA, and the other organizations and individuals involved in our fact-finding effort for their assistance. As a result of this review, we have made several adjustments to our background check program. We will increase the frequency of our checks to an annual review for all officials instead of a periodic review every few years. In addition, we will enhance our monitoring and oversight of officials’ gambling activities that are legal yet unrelated to sports. Officials will be required to disclose any non-sports-related gambling activities, and they will be prohibited from engaging in these activities during the period of time encompassing their officiating assignments. The Big Ten remains committed to protecting the integrity of the game for our student-athletes, institutions and fans.”
The Big Ten Conference will have no further comment on this matter.