University News

Former NBA Referee at the Center of Prominent Game-Fixing Scandal to Speak to Investigations Class

Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee implicated in the league’s worst betting and game-fixing scandal, will speak via Zoom to a class taught by Declan Hill, an expert on match-fixing and sports corruption.

April 17, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Tim Donaghy
Tim Donaghy, a former National Basketball Association referee. (Blumenfeld/Getty)

Declan Hill, D.Phil., an associate professor in the University of New Haven’s Investigations department, has, throughout his career as a journalist and professor, seen firsthand the prevalence of sports corruption and the dangers of match-fixing.

Through his work, he has connected with Tim Donaghy, a former National Basketball Association referee who was at the center of the league’s infamous betting and game-fixing scandal in 2007, and was caught gambling on the very games he officiated. Donaghy, who was investigated by the FBI and threatened by the mob, was sentenced to more than a year in prison. The film “Inside Game,” which is based on the scandal, was released late last year.

Dr. Hill has invited Donaghy to speak via Zoom to his “American Sports Corruption” class. The lecture, which will take place on Wednesday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., is open to all University of New Haven students, as well as to the media and the public, who can join as observers.

Declan Hill in 2013
Declan Hill, D.Phil.

“By having Tim Donaghy speak with students, I want them to learn from primary voices,” said Dr. Hill. “It is important they hear from those who have firsthand knowledge of corruption and match-fixing.”

Joining Donaghy for the discussion will be Chris Rasmussen, a global money laundering and match-fixing expert who ran the sports monitoring section of the World Lottery Association, and Bill Olsen, a former NCAA athlete who witnessed sports corruption firsthand and is now an anti-bribery investigator.

Both Rasmussen and Olsen will join Dr. Hill in teaching courses as part of a graduate certificate in sports integrity the University is launching.

The new graduate certificate will enable students to develop skills such as how to determine if a game is rigged. Addressing sports corruption requires professionals in several fields and is an area that Dr. Hill says is seeing increasing demand.

Italian book cover
Declan Hill has investigated and written about the dangers of match-fixing. This is the Italian cover of his book The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime.

“The United States is going through a huge transformation with the legalization of sports gambling,” said Dr. Hill. “This is an important way to train professionals, such as law enforcement officers, lawyers, and, even, journalists to identify and investigate sports corruption.”

Dr. Hill hopes the discussion will give prospective students in the graduate certificate program a flavor of what it’s like to be in a sports corruption class at the University. He is sure the experience will shine a light on the dangers of gambling addiction and organized crime.

“It isn’t a pretty story,” said Dr. Hill. “It isn’t glamorous, and I want students to see that. No one will be tempted to get into sports corruption after hearing from Tim Donaghy.”

To register for the Zoom meeting, please email Michele Vittorio at Please include “former NBA referee” in the subject line.