Nick Roberto, a junior third-line forward for Boston University, was suspended by the team earlier this season for "a minor violation of team rules." As the suspension lingered on, there were suspicions that it wasn't so minor. But coach David Quinn kept it coy, saying it was a "coach's decision" and the like.
Now, the reasons have been specified, they're not minor: According to College Hockey News, Roberto will miss the rest of the season for “gambling activities” he participated in last season.
The question now is how big this scandal could get. From CHN:
Sources indicate that Roberto was not the only BU player involved, though those players are no longer with the hockey program. The identity of those players could not be confirmed. Other sources have indicated that players from other teams were involved, too.
In a statement released to CHN today, the University said, “Beyond confirming that Mr. Roberto will not play for the Boston University hockey team this season, federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.
“However, we can say that several months ago, we heard rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling. Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information.”
There’s a lot to unpack here, obviously.
The gambling didn’t involve college or professional hockey games (emphasis ours), so one gathers this could be a bookie situation. And in fact, CHN draws that line: Keith O’Connell, a former Boston College defenseman, was one of 33 people that were indicted last week on 122 counts in connection to an alleged illegal sports betting operation in Boston last month.
WEEI.com reports that “Roberto is not currently being investigated by any law enforcement agencies. He is still enrolled at BU and still a member of the hockey team, and that is not expected to change."
The other big headline here: That “Roberto was not the only BU player involved, though those players are no longer with the hockey program.”
CHN reports the gambling happened last season. Here’s the roster for this season. Here’s the roster for last season. The team lost three seniors from that team roster. They also saw star center Jack Eichel and goalie Matt O’Connor leave for the pro ranks, having played (notably poorly) in their last game for BU in their championship game loss to Providence.
From Jeff Cox, a freelance college hockey writer for ESPN and SB Nation:
More on this story as it develops. If it develops.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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