At the time, Henry was living in California and I was in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the course of our three-hour interview, we chatted about his cookbook, surviving the mob, and his recent Hollywood endeavors. But what Henry really wanted to do during our interview was apologize to the city of Boston for his role in the late 1970s Boston College Basketball scandal.
After his arrest in 1980, Hill didn’t consider fixing basketball games a crime, so he had no problem exposing the point-shaving scheme to the Feds as part of his testimony to avoid going to prison. Point-shaving is when athletes conspire with gamblers to ensure a team won’t cover a given point spread. You see, gamblers don’t bet on teams to win or lose, they bet on how many points a team will win by – that’s the spread.
Three Boston College players, Jim Sweeney, Rick Kuhn, and Ernie Cobb were fingered by Hill for participating in the scandal. Kuhn acknowledged his role and was the only player convicted. Cobb and Sweeney admitted to accepting money, but both deny willingly participating while on the basketball court. Cobb was indicted, then acquitted, Sweeney was never charged, and Kuhn received a 10-year sentence. Also convicted in this scandal were three people from Pittsburg and Jimmy “The Gent” Burke, famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the movie Goodfellas.
Below is a clip from my interview with Henry Hill where he apologizes to the City of Boston and the Boston College players for his role in the point-shaving scheme.