Processed by Janice Childers in March 2009 under the supervision of Deirdre A. Scaggs, University Archivist.; machine-readable finding aid created by Janice Childers
William H. Townsend papers
University of Kentucky Libraries, Special Collections
This collection is arranged in two topical series: I. Athletics investigation II. University of Kentucky Alumni Association
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
1986ua024: [identification of item], William H. Townsend papers, University of Kentucky Archives.
0.44 cubic feet (1 box)
The majority of materials in the William H. Townsend papers relate to the point-shaving scandal involving several University of Kentucky basketball players and the NCAA investigation into these allegations during 1951-1952.
William H. Townsend was born in Anderson County, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky Law School in 1912. He represented Adolph Rupp in Adolph Rupp vs. Cowles Magazine, Inc., in which Rupp sued the publishers of Look magazine for defamation. Townsend was the president of the UK Alumni Association during the 1951-1952 NCAA investigation into violations at the university, and served on a special committee charged with drawing up new policy proposals for intercollegiate athletics at UK.
Townsend may be best known as a Lincoln scholar and collector, and he was also the founder and first president of the Kentucky Civil War Round Table in 1953.
In 1951, a scandal erupted involving several University of Kentucky basketball players accused of shaving points, resulting in an NCAA investigation. Ultimately, the basketball program at UK was handed the "death penalty," barring the team from play during the 1952-1953 season.
The other well-known outcome was the indictment for perjury and acquittal of Bill Spivey, whom several other players implicated in the point-shaving scandal. Spivey proclaimed his innocence for the rest of his life, but the negative publicity not only led to his permanent suspension from UK's basketball program, but also resulted in his being barred for life from NBA play.
The majority of materials in the William H. Townsend papers relate to the point-shaving scandal involving several University of Kentucky basketball players and the NCAA investigation into these allegations during 1951-1952. These materials include correspondence, statements, indictments, reports, and minutes.
Also included in the collection are general materials relating to the Alumni Association, including commencement programs, publications, minutes, and a listing of alumni contacts. The materials span the years from 1946-1958.
The Athletics Investigations series contains correspondence, minutes, reports, and statements generated by the university, regulatory bodies, attorneys, and affected parties relating to the NCAA, SEC, and SAC investigations into allegations of game fixing by basketball players.
The University of Kentucky Alumni Association series contains miscellaneous materials relating to Townsend's responsibilities to the Alumni Association, and includes commencement programs, publications, notes, minutes, and member listings.