CLEMSON — Piling on Clemson’s wounded psyche after a one-sided loss to Florida State was an Internet report that Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd had accrued a sizeable gambling debt.
Boyd said Tuesday it was untrue.
Coach Dabo Swinney said he believed Boyd and questioned the credibility of Incarcerated Bob’s Sports Wrap, a betting tip site that published the story hours before Saturday’s kickoff.
Athletics director Dan Radakovich instructed his compliance office to investigate the allegations, and by Monday morning he was convinced they were baseless.
“I don’t really know where that came from,” Boyd said during his weekly meeting with media representatives. “When I heard it, it was pretty shocking. That being built on top of the loss made it a rough little weekend.”
Boyd said he was unaware of the story until the morning after Clemson’s 51-14 home loss to Florida State. He said he played poorly, perhaps his worst game in three years as a starter, and Clemson slid from No. 3 in the AP poll and a potential contender for the national championship to No. 9 in the first BCS ranking, which determines the title game’s opponents.
“That just added to my beautiful Sunday,” Swinney said. “I spoke to Tajh about it, and he just shook his head. So, I have no reason to not believe Tajh Boyd. That is the only comment there is.
“It’s disappointing that we live in this world where things like that happen,” he said. “I have no reason to think that he lied to me. He’s never lied to me before. Obviously, it would be a major problem if you have somebody lying to you about something like that. You’d have to move on in a different direction. It’s that simple.
“I have no reason not to trust him, absolutely. No question, his integrity is impeccable.”
Radakovich said the compliance office’s due diligence included interviewing Boyd and examining the site’s track record. The information was forwarded to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
According to unnamed sources on the site, Boyd owed two bookies money on NFL bets.
Trying to make light of the matter, Boyd said he seldom watched NFL games. “I have Northland Cable,” he said. “I only get two games on Sunday.”
Earlier this year, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter who has covered the gaming industry for five years, including contributions to ESPN and The Sporting News, attempted to reach the website for an interview. Incarcerated Bob had been a caller to a radio talk show on WFAN in New York. In his blog “Bald and Sensitive,” David Purdum wrote in June, “All I really wanted was an interview.” Instead, Purdum said, he was harassed and threatened.
Boyd’s parents are angry and considering legal action. “These reports are totally false,” Carla Boyd told TheClemsonInsider.com. “Please leave my son alone.”
The betting line for the game opened with Florida State favored by 3½ despite being the lower ranked and visiting team. The line held until Saturday when, shortly after the story published, the line moved to 5½.
In a response to an email, Incarcerated Bob said his information “comes from direct sources in Vegas that have ties to the bookies,” and that bettors who would drive a gambling line already had the information before his story.
Replying to a Twitter message, Purdum said the site “has continually made up stories (without) attribution for publicity. No reason to believe this is any different.”
Another writer, Benjamin Allbright, sent out a Tweet on Sunday saying there was “zero truth to the rumor.” Matt Miller of NFLDraftScout called it “a complete lie aimed at hurting the player.”
Clemson is favored by 14 for Saturday’s game against Maryland.