"I finished Elliott's book today and enjoyed it very much. It is very well written, thoroughly researched and interesting. It opened my eyes to a lot of facts that I didn't know about UK basketball's "glory years." I also feel that Ralph, (Beard) Alex (Groza) and Bill (Spivey) were excessively punished and perhaps Rupp got away with murder. " -- Guy MIller
$24.95 + 3.75 S&H
The passion that is University of Kentucky basketball’s Big Blue Nation is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, fans’ maniacal devotion to the ‘Cats traces back to Coach Adolph Rupp’s early days at UK in the 1930’s. As Rupp grew into his job, his teams steadily grew more formidable until they became nearly invincible in what came to be known as UK’s “glory years,” 1946-1951. In that time frame, Kentucky’s Fabulous Five merely: won the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), which was considered the national championship at the time, once; finished runner-up once; won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament three times (and could have won it a fourth time); and formed the nucleus of the United States Olympic team which won the Gold Medal. Then, on a crisp October day in 1951, the roof caved in. Authorities arrested the stars, Ralph Beard and Alex Groza, on charges of conspiring with gamblers to “shave points” as the “fixers’” felt that UK’s basketball teams were talented enough to win by any chosen margin. While that activity was poor ethics anywhere, it was illegal in the State of New York. As many of Kentucky’s games were played in Madison Square Garden – “The Mecca of College Basketball--” the players were guilty of a serious crime. Although UK was the highest profile team involved, the point shaving scandal was not limited to them. Before it was over, 30 players from seven schools were implicated. Later, more Kentucky players, most notably Bill Spivey, were caught in the net and came under the jurisdiction of an ambitious New York District Attorney and a vindictive judge. Ron Elliott recreates the charged atmosphere inside UK’s old Alumni Gym where the ‘Cats steamrolled to 84 consecutive victories and recounts the thrilling action of the big games in Madison Square Garden. Sinister Influences also provides statistics for the big games and the player’s careers as well as many previously obscure details of the point shaving scandals which cost the players their vocation and nearly prematurely ended Coach Rupp’s fabulous career.
$24Beard outruns everybody
Jones, Groza, Barker
Beard, Rupp, Rollins
Sinister Influences: The Story of UK's Fabulous Five and the 1951 Point Shaving Scandals
"If the pressure of college athletics is such that sinister influences can reach a boy of Ralph (Beard's) caliber, something is wrong in the system and no athlete is safe."
Ron Elliott's Books