February 21, 2012; Gainesville, FL, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Varez Ward (1) passes the ball during the first half against the Florida Gators at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Suspended Auburn guard is at the center of a federal investigation into potential point shaving according to a new report from Yahoo! Sports.
Auburn University point guard Varez Ward is being investigated by federal authorities as part of an ongoing point-shaving probe, this according to a special report by Yahoo! Sports.
Ward, who began his college career at Texas, has been suspended indefinitely since Feb. 25.
The Yahoo! report cites three unnamed sources who say they FBI has been investigating Ward since late February for potentially shaving points in a 68-50 loss to Alabama on Feb. 7 and a 56-53 loss to Arkansas on Jan. 25. The sources also say that guard Chris Denson, who was suspended as well on Feb. 25 but has since returned to the team, was also questioned by the FBI but was reportedly cleared of any wrongdoing.
"Kids have to learn a lesson," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said of Denson last week. "It's bigger than sports. It's about life. Sports - including what we do, basketball - is a great opportunity and a great vehicle to teach these kids life lessons. ... He had to suffer the consequences for some bad decisions."
Before his suspension, Ward had been coming off the bench to average 8.9 PPG for Auburn. He led the team in assists at 3.8 per game, and was third in minutes played (27.6 mpg).
In the Feb. 7 loss to Alabama that is reportedly being investigated, Ward played 17 minutes, missed 4-of-5 shots, scored three points and committed six turnovers. With the Tigers, a five-point underdog in the game, trailing by ten with just over 15 minutes to play, Ward entered the game and turned the ball over twice in 21 seconds. He was quickly sent back to the bench before re-entering the game four minutes later and turning the ball over two more times over the next two and-a-half minutes. The Crimson Tide won by 18, easily covering the spread.
In the Jan. 25 loss to Arkansas, Ward played less than a minute and turned the ball over once before leaving the game with a leg injury and not returning. Auburn lost the game by three, but did cover the nine and-a-half point spread.
Ward has not spoken publicly since his suspension and did no respond to an email sent by Yahoo!. The most recent tweet on his personal Twitter account is from Feb. 24 and reads: "Can't win for losing smh."