Part 1 of a 2 part series analyzing Predicting the Future through various methods. The First Part is an example of using elaborate schemes and has some firsthand accounts or reads anecdotal . In part 2 I will trout out legitimate means to seeing into the future to gain a business or political advantage.
Mark Twain said it best, "Find out Where Everyone is Going and Get There First."This article dives into this brilliant quote w/ some modern day and unexpected spins.
In 1979 I was caught up in the fervor. I lived in a small New Mexico town and everyone was talking about the University of New Mexico Lobos men's basketball team being ranked #5 in the Nation. They were coached by legendary Norm Ellenberger who also worked under Hall of Famer's Bobby Knight and Don Haskins.
Stormin' Norman Ellenberger, extraordinary coach, athlete, character.
Architect of one of the most infamous NCAA scandals known as Lobogate. Pitched a no hitter and even played baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Ellenberger had NBA standout Michael Cooper on this team and a street smart team of players with fixed transcripts that were recruited from major urban centers (i.e. some of these players did not go through proper recruitment steps to be eligible for NCAA)
The transcript fixing led to a major FBI investigation as all recruitment rules were broken but this was just a minor part of the overarching plan. I got an inside view as how "the fix" worked relative to the "exit plan" ...and of course it was about rigging a system for financial gain. Was it just a game or high were the stakes?
Though I was only a teenager during this National scandal (which made the cover of Sports Illustrated,) my interest in NCAA hoops and this bizarre lobogate event led me to where it all started. A small private golf course tucked away in the foothills of Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains called Four Hills Country Club.
Four Hills Country Club located a mile from the Mysterious Manzano Weapons Lab
Four Hills in the late 1980s hosted PGA Tour Champions Events and some of golf's greatest played the tricky high desert course. Including legends like Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Gene Littler, Bob Charles, Billy Casper, Miller Barber, Charlie Sifford, Don January, Lee Elder, Bruce Crampton and Peter Thomson (very few remember or recognize that Peter Thomson won the British Open Championship five times between 1954 and 1965.)
Golf Legend Lee Trevino played Four Hills every year during Sun Country
Section Pro Events. Prior to joining the PGA Tour, Lee Trevino was a
regional golf pro from El Paso TX. Trevino was friends with then FHCC
pro Don Klein. Don Klein was cagey, cocky yet a competent pro over 3 decades and my
supervisor for over 5 years
Four Hills Country Club members had a "Mens Only" Grille where so called "successful" New Mexico businessmen and military elite would play spirited card games like gin after a round of golf. I started working in the Pro Shop around 1983 and started hearing stories about how hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised, funneled and "won" and moreover how it worked based on NCAA sports betting in Las Vegas.
Back to the Lobos, This team was so dominant that it routinely would be heavily favored over WAC rivals such as UTEP, Air Force, Colorado State, Wyoming and out of conference teams such as NM State and UNLV.
Here is how "The Fix" played out...
1.) The Lobos would be favored by say a whopping and bet enticing 12 points over their opponent(s)
2.) Norm Ellenberger could "bench" or rest a star player like Marvin Johnson or Michael Cooper towards the end of the game.
3) . This would result in the opponents carving into the Lobos mammoth leads. But the game clock would run out so the Lobos would still get the Win for the School yet not cover the 12 points therefore Lose the Vegas Line.
4.) This was so formulaic and easy to manipulate because the coach could just bench star players for it to pay off. It wasn't like the players had to be involved (example, they were not told to "step out of bounds" or "miss foul shots" - this all happened under the radar and the scheme never failed.)
But how was this monetized? Follow the Money
There were genius operators running their victimless criminal enterprise from inside the Four Hills Men's Grille (spearheaded by the brilliant gambling addict Dr. Lee Farris) I played a lot of golf with Doc Farris. He was one of the best at getting the bet right prior to teeing off. He was in charge of sweepstakes wagering know as Golf calculttas. He also engineered parimutuel betting during FHCC tournaments. I can testify first hand that he was to fixing gambling as Jordan Ross Belfort ,The Wolf of Wall Street, was to Wall St. manipulation and fraud. Many would have called him shady but he was a legitimate Doctor of Gynecology. I admired his guts and the Doctor who made a living working on ladies ironically had the biggest balls of em all.
Dr. Farris would fly to Las Vegas each week and visit numerous sportsbooks placing as many bets as possible loading up on large bets for Lobos to "lose the spread." But spirits remained high in New Mexico because in the meantime the Lobos were racking up wins giving a civic and community boost to a poor state known for having limited things to cheer about. It was like "Friday Night Lights" on steroids. But payoffs were big, this wasn't just about bragging rights, big money was being made each week and it was largely a victimless crime.
The Lobos would get the win. Casinos didn't care because the lines were adjusted to keep people on each side at equilibrium.
This was a classic cabal to manipulate the future and make money based on rigging things. (We see this today in markets, politics, business) But Lobogate and the Four Hills Funnel had just a sexier feel. It involved a tremendous triumvirate; a charismatic coach, his mastermind sidekick Manny Goldstein and Lee Farris who organized a syndicate of gamblers operating out of a private room inside an unsuspecting golf club. The plot was storybook and I believe this very account is the first report putting all the pieces together.
Front Elevation Four Hills Country Club, mid century classic
That year The UNM Lobos stood at 7-2 after losing to #10 Syracuse, then rattled off 14 straight wins, including a home-and-away sweep of #9 UNLV, pushing them into the national rankings and eventually into the top ten. Attendance at The Pit jumped to over 17,000 a game, second most in the nation, as fan enthusiasm spiked. The Lobos won their fourth WAC championship with a 13-1 league record, losing only at ranked Utah, and entered the NCAA tournament ranked #5 and seeded second in the West Regional, with the opportunity to play in The Pit for the regional final with a win.
So what does this have to do with predictive analytics?
Nothing, this is an example of predicting or forcing outcomes by "finding loopholes" "point shaving" "transcript fixing" "casino hopping" ....an extensive and elaborate scheme but nevertheless a method for manipulating a desired outcome.
End of Part 1.
In Part 2 I will introduce Predictive Analytics, legitimate methodologies and how to use search queries / emerging technologies to Predict the Future.