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Casino gambling not a factor in Big Ten ref investigation

Casino gambling not a factor in Big Ten ref investigation An investigation conducted by the Big Ten found no evidence that casino gambling reflected on the officiating by Stephen Pamon. Yahoo! Sports first reported reported in December that Stephen Pamon, a Big Ten official since 1988, and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and two of the creditors were casinos. The ref's sister-in-law told the new agency that Pamon regularly gambled in casinos and the gambling he and his wife did contributed to their bankruptcy.

 Pamon's crew came under scrutiny for its work in last season's Penn State-Purdue game and was reportedly suspended. The Yahoo article also questioned the officiating in last year's Illinois at Ohio State game, worked by Pamon's crew, though the reporting never alleged either game had been intentionally compromised by any officials. The financial troubles of the referee sparked an investigation by the Big Ten, however, no evidence was found to support speculations that Pamon and his casino gambling habit led to influencing the outcome of any games. There was no evidence Pamon bet on sporting events, either.

 "Upon the conclusion of our investigation, the Big Ten is secure in its belief that these games were not compromised. 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," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement.

 Published on 08/09/2008

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