A student and an alleged bookmaker were arrested today in the investigation into possible point-shaving by members of the Tulane University basketball team, bringing the number of those charged to seven.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Dubelier confirmed that his office suspects four members of Tulane's starting five were at least aware of possible point-shaving, the act of attempting either to win by a lower margin or lose by a greater margin than the established betting line.
Roland Ruiz, 48, was booked at 2 p.m. today. Ruiz is the first suspect charged who is not a student at the university. His arrest was followed by the arrest of a sixth Tulane student, David Rothenberg.
Ruiz was booked on five counts of sports bribery, one for each member of the Tulane starting five, and one count of conspiracy to commit sports bribery. Rothenberg, a senior from Connecticut, was booked on one count each of sports bribery and conspiracy.
Ruiz' record includes 36 misdemeanor arrests, all in connection with gambling. He was convicted on nine of the misdemeanors.
"I think the record of this individual indicates that he is a bookmaker," Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick said. "We consider it an important arrest. We think this man was brought into it by one of the Tulane players."
Connick said his office expected to make two more arrests. He said one is a student but declined to give details on the other suspect.
Of the six students arrested, three were Tulane players. John (Hot Rod) Williams, a 6-foot-9 forward who was considered a probable first-round NBA draft pick, and guards David Dominique and Bobby Thompson were released on their own recognizance after being charged Tuesday with one count each of sports bribery.
Williams and Dominique were starters. Two other players, Clyde Eads and Jon Johnson, also starters, were granted immunity from prosecution in return for testimony before a grand jury Thursday. Their testimony was secret, and they were the only two witnesses to testify.
Another hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, with eight team members, none of whom has been implicated, requested to appear. Coach Ned Fowler, who is not implicated, also will be scheduled to testify but at a later date. He has been advised by his attorney, Jack Martzell, not to comment.
The nonplayers arrested were Gary Kranz, 21, of New York, and Mark Olensky, 21, of New Jersey, both for sports bribery, conspiracy to commit sports bribery and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Kranz also was charged with a count of cocaine possesion.
Rothenberg, 21, who was accompanied by attorney Ralph Capitelli, is believed to be Olensky's roommate. Rothenberg, Olensky and Kranz also are members of the same fraternity. Rothenberg did not issue a statement and appeared badly shaken as he was followed by a barrage of cameras at the district attorney's office.
The charges against Ruiz are in connection with one of two games suspected of being fixed, a 60-49 loss to Memphis State last month. Also under investigation is a 64-63 victory Feb. 2 over Southern Mississippi.
Against Southern Mississippi, Tulane was favored to win by 10 1/2 points. The Green Wave was a four-point underdog to Memphis State and lost by 11 after leading, 34-28, at halftime.
U.S. Attorney John Volz has said his office will be investigating the possibility that the alleged gambling scheme extended beyond the state, and Connick said the FBI was monitoring the case.
"We told them we appreciated the call and we would get in touch if we found anything," Connick said. "There is a possibility of interstate activity in the sense of phone calls being made or money delivered. We have some leads in that area."
Dubelier, who with Assistant District Attorney Frank Ruiz has been doing most of the investigating, said that one area where they might find a lead is the bank accounts of the players charged.
Kranz, who is free on a $10,000 surety bond, is suspected of offering the players money and cocaine in return for shaving points in the two games. His attorney, Mike Fawer, requested and held a meeting with Dubelier before the arrests.
Dubelier would not comment on the conversation, which lasted about 40 minutes, but Frank Ruiz hinted that not much was accomplished. "We have a much stronger case than people suspect," he said. "There wasn't much information exchanged."
Connick also said possible recruiting violations concerning one unnamed member of the starting five had been referred to the NCAA.