By Dennis Berry
Book titles need to be able to grab your attention. How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit does just that. You may think you are being given step-by-step guidelines; instead you are given the story of what drove one man to go rogue and profit from betting on NCAA basketball.
Book titles need to be able to grab your attention. How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit does just that. You may think you are being given step–by–step guidelines; instead you are given the story of what drove one man to go rogue and profit from betting on NCAA basketball.
The author, James Wolfe, is a sports fan himself. This is his third sports related book; he also wrote Little Balls Big Dreams about an every golfer turned PGA Pro. He also co–authored Curse? There Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse, a collection of sports related short stories.
This time Wolfe introduces you to Stanley Osborn. Stanley comes across as your "Average Joe". He is married with one child. He is a sports fan and works as an accountant. He also works a college basketball referee.
While he is content with his life, his wife is not. She always wants to improve something: her car, their home, or even herself. Because of this, she is always complaining about money, or the lack there of.
Stanley is always passed over for promotions at his office because refereeing always keeps him away during tax season. Although he is good at his job, they cannot look past that. Although he enjoys being a ref, he never gets the chance to ref during the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Early on we are given the details of what led Stanley to turn college basketball upside down. A run in with a legendary coach makes him a target of everybody: the media, fans, and even the conference officials he works for. While Stanley seems justified with the way he dealt with the coach, everyone else disagrees.
The negative response that Stanley sees really takes him back. He cannot believe what the game he loves has become. It is then that he decides to hatch his plan to show everyone just what is wrong with the game.
He will begin to bet on basketball games that he referees and influence the decision to make sure he wins. Sounds familiar doesn't it? You have heard of this happening before, but not in the NCAA, but the NBA. Tim Donaghy went from NBA ref to famous standing when it came out that he had been influencing games he refereed in the NBA.
Like Donaghy, Stanley wanted to have a finical gain for his actions. He knew it would take time to get the chance to officiate the NCAA Championship game. So during that time he perfected his skills. At first he would only influence games, but not bet on them. He had to see what he could and could not do.
Over the course of time, he had perfected his skills and began to bet on games. With the help of a childhood friend, Flip, he started betting on games. He would select the games he felt best about bet on them. Soon it comes to his friend's attention the success that Stanley has enjoyed. Along with his associate, Switchblade, they form a partnership that raises the stakes for Stanley, but also puts him at a bigger risk of failure. That means getting caught or having a run in with Switchblade.
Eventually Stanley gets his shot at the big game. Of course it comes down to a "David versus Goliath" match up. Will Stanley be able to keep his cool and keep the final outcome under the point spread so he can win? Or will his actions become too obvious and get him caught?
While he feels just in trying to show the bad side of college basketball, he also profits from it. For Stanley it is not just about saving the game he loves because it needs to be saved. He also does it so that he can profit himself from betting.
Overall How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit is an enjoyable read. Wolfe provides an excellent story on what can drive an honest referee over the edge into the dark side of sports. Is Stanley Osborn a hero or villain? You will have to read the book to gain your own opinion of Stanley.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.