February 25, 2016

No Grey Areas Book Review

Last year, our local boys' basketball team was stripped of their state championship due to misappropriation of funds and improper actions of coaches and athletic team staff.  It was disheartening to see these kids who had worked so hard all season crying as the championship trophy was removed from the gymnasium.  The adults failed these kids.  The adults in their pursuit of a championship failed these kids.

As I read No Grey Areas, a book about the Arizona State University scandal that rocked the NCAA in 1994, I couldn't help but think about those kids who were bound for greatness 'cept for the greedy adults who changed their paths forever.

"In 1994, Joseph N. Gagliano calmly sat back, put his hands behind his head and smiled as the NCAA clocked ticked down the remaining last seconds of the game. It was the third game in a row Joe had bet on where the point spread had to land on a specific number. With millions at stake, was he nervous? Not at all. As the buzzer sounded on the 3rd game, his duffle bags were filled with over $5,000,000 in cash. How? Joe had fixed the game.

No Grey Areas tells the incredible, true story of the man who orchestrated the largest sports point shaving betting scam in sport¹s history. But that is only where the story begins. It is always the cover up, not the crime, where white collar criminals get caught.

Joe was caught, convicted and served time in Federal prison for his role in coordinating and financing the 1994 ASU point shaving scandal. His journey continued as Joe came out of prison in late 2000 with a passion to clear his name and a desire to remove perceptions held by others of him. He embarked on an aggressive path to success; building a sizeable chain of full service car washes, making millions in real estate, living a life of luxury, and even buying a private jet just to get to his yacht in San Diego quicker.

But the story does not end there. Being an easy target, with the financial collapse of 2008, Joe's decisions and grey areas entangled him in another felony. In 2013, he went away to Federal prison again."

My Thoughts:
I struggled with the first few pages of No Grey Areas as early on it became evident Joe was developing schemes in his pursuit of financial gain.  Despite his short term financial "successes" Joe's overcoming desire for more led to scheme after scheme.  He seemed to have some business sense yet always seemed to fall short of the big prize.  For example, his lawn care business and his sandwich shops.  Great ideas, but none yielded the money Joe felt he deserved.

I remember this scandal and always wondered what happened to those ASU players, those college kids who essentially risked it all for a few dollars.  What about them Joe?  Where are their stories?  Oh, this is Joe's story.  This isn't about the kids who lives were forever changed.  This is his story.  Not all of it as I'm sure there aren't enough pages to tell it all.  

Overall, an interesting read.

Disclosure:  Many thanks to the author and The Cadence Group for the opportunity to review this book. I received a review copy in exchange for this review. No monetary compensation was received. For more information on the Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog, please visit http://threeboysandanoldlady.blogspot.com/2010/01/advertisecontact.html  


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