Former FSU Athlete Faces I-Gaming Allegations

6 March 2003

Just a week after the NCAA sung the praises of one of its corporate sponsors for severing ties with the gambling industry, one of its up-and-coming stars faces gambling charges in connection with online sports betting.

Adrian McPherson was kicked off the Florida State football team late in the season after an investigation showed he had stolen a blank bank check.

As a result of that investigation, campus police allege that McPherson was involved in a betting scheme in which he placed wagers on numerous sporting events, including football games in which he was playing in.

Officials said McPherson always bet on his team to win when he wagered on games he was involved in.

"It is disappointing, but true, that sometimes it takes something like this to truly heighten attention and awareness among the student population. I hope that Adrian will seek and accept help to get his life in order."
- Dave Hart

McPherson's lawyer said he would plead not guilty to an impending misdemeanor gambling charge. Two other individuals face similar charges.

According to campus police, McPherson, 19, allegedly racked up roughly $8,000 in gambling debts and used both the Internet and a local bookie to place his wagers. Police allege that McPherson used other people's names to place his bets online in order to avoid attention from the NCAA.

Also facing charges are 23-year-old Dereck Delach, the alleged bookie, and Jeffrey Inderhees, a 21-year-old FSU football team student equipment manager. Both men face third-degree felony bookmaking charges as a result of the investigation. Inderhees was dismissed from his duties, athletics officials said.

Inderhees was booked at the Leon County Jail on Tuesday and released on bond. Delach is with his parents in Pennsylvania, school officials said.

Unfortunately for McPherson, this isn't the first bit of trouble he has gotten into from his days on the FSU team.

McPherson, one of the most decorated high school athletes in Florida history, still faces criminal charges of forgery and passing bad checks, both third-degree felonies, and felony grand theft and misdemeanor petty theft charges.

Last fall while shopping for rims to put on his SUV, McPherson allegedly stole a blank bank check from the shop. A few weeks later, a friend of McPherson's tried to cash the check for $3,500.

McPherson was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for various charges and it was expected the gambling charges would be brought before him at that time, along with another charge related to the bad checks.

McPherson started four games for the Seminoles last season. His attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., issued a statement to the media on Wednesday saying that his client would plead innocent to the charges but the plea could change if "circumstances warrant."

Hinting that school officials may have known about McPherson's gambling problems before he was excused from the team, Irvin intimated in the statement that if McPherson were brought to trial on the charges, university employees could be forced to testify. Irvin claims that some school and team officials knew of illegal gambling allegations facing McPherson while he was still the team's starting QB.

McPherson was elevated to the role of starter on Oct. 26 after the Seminoles suffered an embarrassing loss to Notre Dame. He led the team to a 3-1 record as the starter before he was kicked off for violating team rules. His final game was on Nov. 23, a 17-7 loss to North Carolina State.

Authorities questioned Las Vegas gambling experts to determine if there was any concern that McPherson may have compromised the score and shaved points off the final in order to cover a bet. Officials said there was no indication or evidence to believe there was a point shaving scandal.

During the course of the blank check investigation McPherson's friend who had tried to cash the $3,500 check, Melvin Capers, explained to investigators why he and McPherson needed the money.

He said the pair had opened an account with SBG Global, an online casino and sports book, and has been betting on various sporting events since August. Capers told police that the account was initially funded through a Western Union wire placed at a local grocery store.

The account was maintained in Capers' name in order to keep McPherson off of the NCAA radar. Investigators said that betting records show McPherson was placing $500 and $1,000 bets through the site. A laptop computer was seized from Capers' apartment and authorities said an analysis showed betting accounts in Capers' name.

School officials, meanwhile, were disappointed with the news that McPherson had been involved in gambling.

FSU Director of Athletics Dave Hart said the school would continue to educate its student athletes on the issue.

"It is disappointing, but true, that sometimes it takes something like this to truly heighten attention and awareness among the student population," he said. "I hope that Adrian will seek and accept help to get his life in order."

McPherson's future as a collegiate athlete remains questionable. NCAA Bylaw 10.3 prohibits sports gambling, including Internet gambling on sporting events. A student-athlete who violates the rule will be declared ineligible to participate in intercollegiate competition.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said all players know the rules and there is no gray area in the bylaw.

"I just can't imagine what was going through his mind," he said. "Our players are told time and time again what they can and cannot do, and gambling is a subject that is top of the list."

In an ironic twist, on Tuesday officials with FSU concluded a two-day symposium on sports betting. The event was mandatory for every athlete, coach and athletic department member and was scheduled long before McPherson's betting allegations came to light. The event included an FBI official as well as a convicted bookmaker.