Editor's Note: Thanks to DoctorK16 for jumping on this story. Use this as a thread to discuss the scandal. I, for one, think this isn't going to end up being as bad as it seems. Then again, I always think that way.
This has the potential to destroy the league and professional sports.
The FBI is investigating allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on basketball games over the past two seasons, including ones in which he officiated.
Defense attorney John Lauro confirmed Donaghy is under investigation but refused to comment on the allegations or the case.
According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered.
The law enforcement official, who spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on the condition of anonymity, said the referee was aware of the investigation and had made arrangements to surrender as early as next week to face charges.
The law enforcement official said the bets involved thousands of dollars and were made on games during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Donaghy officiated 68 games in the 2005-06 season and 63 games in 2006-07. He also worked 20 playoff games, including five last season.
In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, commissioner David Stern said the league will help the government in any way it can.
"We would like to assure our fans that no amount of effort, time or personnel is being spared to assist in this investigation, to bring to justice an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports, and to take the necessary steps to protect against this ever happening again," Stern said. "We will have more to say at a press conference that will be scheduled for next week."
The FBI probe, which began recently, also involves allegations that the referee had connections to organized crime associates. Other arrests are expected, the official said.
The referee had a gambling problem, according to the official, and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance.