PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) -The Big Ten's investigation of two games involving an official with a history of financial troubles and casino gambling turned up no evidence to suggest the integrity of either 2007 game was compromised, the conference announced Friday.
Yahoo! Sports reported in December that Stephen Pamon, a Big Ten official since 1988 and chief of a seven-man crew last season, and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and two of the creditors were casinos. Pamon's sister-in-law, Gina Banks, told Yahoo! that Pamon regularly gambled in casinos and the gambling he and his wife did contributed to their bankruptcy. There was no evidence Pamon bet on sporting events.
Pamon's crew came under scrutiny for its work in last season's Penn State-Purdue and was reportedly suspended. The Yahoo's article also questioned the officiating in last year's Illinois at Ohio State game, worked by Pamon's crew, though the reporting never alleged either game had been intentionally compromised by any officials.
The conference said its investigation involved representatives of law enforcement, outside legal counsel, a private investigative firm, Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Inc., and the NCAA's Agents, Gambling, and Amateurism staff. The Big Ten said it also spoke with Pamon.
``Upon the conclusion of our investigation, the Big Ten is secure in its belief that these games were not compromised,'' commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. ``As a result of this review, we have made several adjustments to our background check program. We will increase the frequency of our checks to an annual review for all officials instead of a periodic review every few years.
``In addition, we will enhance our monitoring and oversight of officials' gambling activities that are legal yet unrelated to sports. Officials will be required to disclose any non-sports-related gambling activities, and they will be prohibited from engaging in these activities during the period of time encompassing their officiating assignments.''
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