Septmber 5th, 2002.
Wisconsin Badgers at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Sam Boyd Stadium.
Thousands of drunken BAEDDDGer fans in town, betting like crazy on their team. Game is an easy cover for Wisky... the the lights go out just 2:41 until the game is "official" in the Vegas books.
We pick up the story, as written by Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Of course, the power outage sparked conspiracy theories, some of which exist today.
Much of the suspicion is due to the heavy betting from the many Badgers fans who made the trip and pushed the spread from between 3 and 4 points to 7 for their favorite team.
When the lights went out, 7:41 remained in the game -- 2:41 away from making it an official result for the sports books. Thus, the Wisconsin fans who put money on their team to cover did not get paid winnings, but were simply refunded whatever they bet.
Major sports books would have lost only between $10,000 and $20,000 on the game, according to a Review-Journal article at the time. Their losses would have been offset largely because Badgers fans also pushed the total from 53 to 58 points.
'It surely wouldn't have gone over the total, and I'm sure there was a lot of parlay action on the total," said Ken White, chief oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants.
Local radio co-host and noted sports bettor Dave Cokin said the theories amaze him.
"There's no way to keep a secret anymore," Cokin said. "It's why local politicians go to jail. So if it was some conspiracy with the UNLV-Wisconsin game, I think someone would've blown the whistle and made a lot of money. It's impossible. It's completely illogical and as stupid as someone believing in a curse on the Red Sox.
"There is no grassy knoll involved."
The early report by UNLV Police of a car hitting a transformer that was later discredited probably increased suspicions.
Sam Boyd Stadium manager Jeff Chalfant said an older cable that was part of "the main Nevada Power feed" burned out. That cable, he said, "burned through another."
And suddenly the stadium went dark.
Okay, let's finely tune the bullshit meter here.
1. Would there have been "motive" to pull the plug. Absolutely.
2. Opportunity? Yes, it's Vegas.
3. So what if OVERALL the sports books in Vegas would have only lost a paltry $10-20K? It doesn't mean that PERHAPS a prominent local Vegas "whale" might have had $200,000 on the hometown Rebels. HE would have a huge incentive to make that game "go dark."
And yes, the police report which was wrong, only adds suspicion. "One cable burned through another?" Do we have pictures of that? Was there a fire? What about backup systems?
Power surges, blackouts and failures happen. I get it. But they are quite rare when it comes to the THOUSANDS of major college and pro sporting events around the country, year after year, after year.
And there is also a misconception, that because a stadium has these BRIGHT LIGHTS that it must be a huge energy hog! Well, to some extent yes. But outdoor stadiums that have limited HVAC units, I bet use less juice than a typical mid-size office building or even an ice rink, or Costco.
Once things start adding up to being very, very fishy. Then get your noses out of your ass, and start sniffin.'