Fmr. AU basketball player indicted for point-shaving while playing for the Tigers

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - A suspended Auburn basketball player has been indicted on two counts in federal court following accusations of point-shaving while he was playing for Auburn.

In the indictment which was released last Thursday, Kyievarez "Varez" Ward is alleged to have conspired with others to bribe or solicit one or more individuals to influence a sporting contest, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

Ward and another teammate, Chris Denson, were suspended by the Tigers prior to the Feb. 25, 2012 home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks after allegations of poor play involving point-shaving in the January 25, 2012 away game, also against Arkansas.

Denson was questioned regarding the alleged point-shaving investigation, but was cleared a short time after his initial suspension. He was allowed to return to the team.

Auburn University Athletics issued a statement shortly after Ward's suspension:

"Auburn officials were made aware of a rumor regarding an allegation two weeks ago and immediately reported it to the FBI, the NCAA and the SEC. Because of the nature of the allegation, Auburn is not in a position to make any further comment on the situation."

According to George Beck, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, Ward was arrested Monday, June 3 for bribery relating to a sports contest and conspiracy.

Beck says court records show Ward and others devised a scheme to fix the point spread for the Auburn vs. Arkansas game that occurred on January 25, 2012. Beck writes in a release that Ward's scheme was to make sure that Auburn ultimately lost the basketball game and that in order to accomplish this, he attempted to recruit other Auburn basketball players to help him fix the game. Beck says Ward offered to pay the other players for their help.

"Watching sports should be entertaining," stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr..  "We want the outcome of the game to be based on talent and hard work, not some off-field, back-room deal.  Fixing games not only hurts teammates, but hurts the fans and all viewing public.  I would like to commend Auburn University and Dr. Gogue for their complete cooperation in this investigation."

If Ward is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a period of supervised release of no more than three years.

WSFA 12 News has reached out to Auburn University for comment in the wake of Ward's indictment. At this time Ward is no longer enrolled in the university.

Ward attended Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery back in 2007.

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