On the morning of April 11, 2011, University of San Diego basketball coach Bill Grier received a surprise visit at his home from two FBI agents who told him that one of his former players, USD's alltime leading scorer Brandon Johnson, and another ex-USD player named Brandon Dowdy were being charged in federal court at that very moment with trying to fix games.
That information was shocking enough, but when the agents told Grier about the third defendant linked to USD basketball, former assistant coach T.J. Brown -- a man Grier thought highly of even as he dismissed him in 2007 to make room for his incoming staff -- Grier almost had to take a knee. "This thing shook me to my core," Grier said. "It really hit home for me when one of our players approached me and said, 'Coach, I don't know how much of my career was real.'"
The U.S. Attorney's office charged 10 people that morning -- including Johnson, Dowdy and Brown -- with "conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conduct an illegal gambling business, and distribute marijuana." Johnson, Dowdy and Brown are the only three sports figures named in the alleged conspiracy. They have each declined to comment on the charges other than to plead not guilty in court. The other defendants have also pleaded not guilty (with the exception of David Gates, an indigent ex-gang member, who pleaded guilty in August to participating in the gambling business). A trial has been scheduled for September.