May 10, 1997 in Sports

Jury Digs Into Farmer’s Involvement

Associated Press
 

A federal grand jury investigating alleged point-shaving by Fresno State basketball players questioned a hay farmer who received free tickets to Bulldog games.

Jim Muzio, 56, received six sets of tickets, some provided by one or more basketball players, The Fresno Bee reported Friday.

The newspaper’s sources said Muzio knows former basketball player Dominick Young. Young, a senior last season, and rising junior Chris Herren have been the center of a federal investigation into alleged point-shaving.

Both have denied shaving points, an illegal practice by which a player tries to keep a winning score below the point spread to favor certain gamblers.

The investigation also has focused on car salesman Krikor “Kirk” Vartanian and pawn shop owner Dan Jelladian.

The Bee reported Vartanian obtained tickets for seats behind the Bulldogs bench through coach Jerry Tarkanian’s business manager and Jelladian had other gamblers place bets for him on some Fresno State games because he had “insider information.”

Vartanian and Jelladian also have denied the point-shaving allegations.

Muzio operates a hay business in eastern Fresno County and is a racehorse owner and veteran gambler whose name surfaced in a number of San Joaquin Valley bookmaking operations, The Bee said.

Most of the questions asked by the grand jury were about bookies, Muzio’s lawyer, John Smurr, said.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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