9 Youth Football Coaches Arrested for Illegal Gambling Ring

By Renae Juska
NBC Miami

Gambling on sports legally is already very limited. So who thinks it is a good idea to start an illegal, underground gambling organization on little league football? Apparently 9 youth football coaches and associates in South Florida thought they could get away with it.

After an 18-month investigation, the crew of 9 has officially been busted for their elaborate scandal.

Here’s what is even more interesting, 6 of the 9 men facing charges are ex-convicts. Their convictions consist of felony drug, assault, and theft charges. They probably shouldn’t have been allowed to be coaching kids age 5-15 in the first place.

The group wasn’t making small little $5 bets either. $20,000 was bet in a rivalry game, and bets up to $100,000 for the leagues’ championship games. How in the world does a youth football coach have $100,000 to just throw down?

The initial investigation “Outside the Lines” began in May 2011 when people in the stands were exchanging money right in front of the fans. The league officials said that they would attempt to end the illegal gambling on the sidelines.

When detectives returned in December, the public gambling was absent but after searching deeper, they discovered the illegal gambling just went further underground. At this point, detectives named the case “Operation Dirty Play.”

They even took it to the degree of having a front for the organization: a barbershop. Law enforcement has video footage of dozens of men walking into the barbershop, then through a door in the back that looks like it should be a closet.

I know that fronts exist for dogfights and drug dealers, and prostitution rings, but a gambling site for youth football? That just seems a little outrageous. But the secret room contained 3 windows where people could bet on NFL, MLB and NCAA Football on top of the youth football bets.

Regardless of what they were gambling on, it was highly illegal. The barbershop is owned by Brandon Bivins, who was a coach and the president for the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes youth football team.

If the rumors are true, the arrests have sparked suspicion of more criminal activity than just gambling. Either way you look at it, these 9 men (and potentially more) are facing the charge of felony bookmaking, (organized gambling) which carries a fine of up to 5 years in prison.

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