February 20, 1951 – Basketball was in the news this day. One of Americas great national pastimes was rocked by scandal. In what became a nationwide scandal was largely centered on this particular day over the events involving three members of the CCNY Basketball team.
The scandal involved the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Invitation Tournament (NIT) champion City College of New York (CCNY). CCNY had won the 1950 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1950 National Invitation Tournament over Bradley University. The scandal involved the Beavers and at least six other schools, including three others in the New York City area: New York University, Long Island University and Manhattan College. It spread out of New York City to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois; the University of Kentucky and the University of Toledo. The scandal would spread to 33 players and involve the world of organized crime. As a result of the scandal that broke early in the year, Bill Spivey’s Most Outstanding Player Award for the 1951 NCAA tournament was vacated after it became known that he was implicated in the point-shaving scandal. CCNY was eventually banned from playing at Madison Square Garden, although the coach, Nat Holman, would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
The scandal was such that even CCNY’s coach Nat Holman (Mr. Basketball) expressed outrage that such a thing would happen in Collegiate sports. Holman said it was a sign of the times – and maybe he was right, but the ends wound up not justifying the means and many hopefuls would have fledgling careers destroyed in the process.
There was other news – other scandals. A Federal Grand Jury in Washington unearthed another scandal, this one involving meat and the Army. The Grand jury indicted Ben Groomstein and Sons of Hoboken New Jersey as well as several figures in the Army on the grounds they were conspiring to sell bad meat to the Army. The firm was accused of corrupting two of the Army inspectors, giving them bribes and gifts so that they would approve what the government estimated $1 million worth of inferior meats.
And fighting in Korea was relatively quiet this day. The UN forces were holding ground they gained after the enemy attack of a week earlier.
All that, and so much more, by way of Edward R. Murrow and The News for February 20, 1951.