Alabama Baseball Scandal Bettor Charged with Obstructing Federal Investigation

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In 2023, Indiana minor league baseball coach Bert Neff Jr., 49, attempted to place a $100K bet at a Cincinnati sportsbook. He did so while allegedly in contact with Alabama Crimson Tide baseball head coach Brad Bohannon.

The incident led to Bohannon’s firing. And now, it was revealed this week, resulted in federal charges for Neff Jr.

Neff Jr. has not been charged with violating any betting or gambling laws. But instead, he faces counts of obstruction of justice in relation to the investigation. 

The court filings released this week say Neff Jr. plans to plead guilty to those charges, for which he could see up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the defendant destroyed his cell phone to get rid of evidence, encouraged others under investigation to do the same, and provided false statements to federal investigators.

The scandal was one of our biggest sports betting news stories of 2023, causing quite a fallout in Ohio and Alabama sports betting.

The Incident

On April 28, 2023, Neff Jr. visited the since-relocated BetMGM Sportsbook at the Great American Ballpark stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

While there, he attempted to place a $100,000 bet on Alabama Crimson Tide’s game that evening against the Louisiana State Tigers.

When staff weren’t sure about his wager, Neff Jr. allegedly became agitated, even announcing out loud to staff he had inside information on the bet.

It was later alleged that Neff Jr. was in contact with Alabama Coach Brad Bohannon, who was fired on May 4, shortly before the news broke of the attempted wager.

The sportsbook security cameras picked up the whole incident, including Neff Jr’s conversation with staff.

After the incident, regulators for Ohio sports betting suspended any wagering on Alabama games for several weeks.

Neff Jr’s alleged insider information was that Alabama’s starting pitcher wasn’t going to play, which would lead to a loss, and that did indeed end up happening.

The NCAA, in a separate investigation, found Bohannon had messaged Neff Jr., asking him to “HAMMER” LSU.

As well as being fired, the NCAA investigation saw Bohannon get a 15-year ban from employment at any NCAA or affiliated institution.

The Cover Up

Neff Jr. is charged with destroying evidence during the initial investigation, as well as having an hour-long discussion about the events with two key witnesses to the case in Alabama shortly before their court testimony.

“All of this activity was designed to interfere with the ongoing grand jury investigation,” a statement from prosecutors read.

The scandal also caused trouble for Neff Jr’s son, Andrew, who was playing last season for the University of Cincinnati’s Bearcats baseball team. Several Bearcats staff members were reportedly investigated over contact with Neff Jr. in various betting group chats, although no college baseball wagering violations were found.

The Charges

U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and FBI Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples announced the criminal charges against Neff Jr. this week.

It has been reported by sources close to the case that he will plead guilty to obstructing a federal grand jury investigation.

If so, he could face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Bohannon was not mentioned in the charges filed. They also do not directly relate to Neff Jr.’s alleged insider betting, which would usually carry fraud or conspiracy charges.

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