- Horse Racing - Drexel 'basks' in unwanted Pick-Six scam attention

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Thursday, November 14
Drexel 'basks' in unwanted Pick-Six scam attention

PHILADELPHIA -- The two guys who invented the bar code went to school here. So did the man who developed the technology that made the Internet possible.

Now, three former students have brought attention to Drexel University again.

TKE House
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house at Drexel University.
Derrick Davis of Baltimore, Glen DaSilva of New York and Chris Harn of Newark, N.J. -- all members of the same fraternity at Drexel -- were charged Tuesday with tampering with a national off-track betting system to rig a $3 million bet on six horse races at the Breeder's Cup at Arlington Park, Ill., last month.

Davis, DaSilva and Harn met at Drexel in the 1990s and were fraternity brothers at Tau Kappa Epsilon. Lawyers for all three men have said their clients are innocent.

As prosecutors have described it, the trio's alleged plan to rig a complicated Ultra Pick Six bet was more likely a crime of opportunity than one hatched years ago in a Drexel study hall; Harn worked as a technician for the company that handles most computerized horse betting.

But the case has created a buzz at Drexel, where students and faculty occasionally complain about being unfairly overlooked because of the long shadow cast by their Ivy League neighbor, Penn.

Here, some said with a degree of pride Wednesday, was another example of Drexel ingenuity.

Glen DaSilva
Glen DaSilva leaving New York District Court last month.
"I know what they did wasn't right, but in a twisted sort of way, it shows our high standards. It shows the quality of the education you can get here,'' said Lang Kirchheimer, an 18-year-old freshman.

That opinion wasn't shared by many, however. More students said the allegations only obscured good work by the school's researchers and alumni.

"It doesn't reflect well on us. What they did wasn't much of an achievement,'' said Andrew Aiello, a 22-year-old senior. "I'd rather have us establish our reputation in other ways.''

As to whether the case would give Drexel a reputation as some sort of hotbed for hackers, most students were doubtful.

"I guess they learned what they needed to learn here. But what they do with that knowledge is personal choice. It's not the school's fault. It's not like they're teaching this stuff in class,'' said Lee Hamilton, a 28-year-old junior.

Drexel's vice president for university relations, Philip Terranova, shrugged off the attention.

"We are used to making headlines,'' he said. "I think the public at large has a good understanding and appreciation of the positive contributions that our alumni make to this world.''

The university's library and information science programs have been ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report. Universal Product Code inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver are alumni, as is "packet-switching'' guru Paul Baran. Drexel has long bragged of being at technology's forefront, as in 1983 when it became the first U.S. college to require all students to own computers.

None of the three men charged in the pick six scam graduated from Drexel, Terranova pointed out. Harn and DaSilva attended from 1991 to 1997, Davis from 1992 to 1993.

Most students agreed that one scandal probably won't be enough to lift Drexel completely out of Penn's shadow -- even in the annals of crime. Penn's business school, after all, produced Michael Milken, the junk-bond trader who served prison time for securities fraud.

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