AUBURN, Ala., March 8 (UPI) -- Federal authorities have begun an investigation into point-shaving allegations involving Auburn guard Varez Ward, Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday.
The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported Ward has told friends he has been questioned concerning the allegations and has denied any wrongdoing.
Ward was suspended from the team Feb. 25 and has not been to an Auburn game since. Auburn played Thursday in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Auburn officials released a statement Thursday saying the allegations surfaced two weeks ago and that the school immediately contacted the conference office, the NCAA and the FBI.
A statement from the NCAA said the governing body of collegiate sports would "defer action" until the FBI completes its investigation.
"The NCAA takes any allegation of point shaving very seriously because sports wagering threatens two of our core principles -- the well-being of student-athletes and the very integrity of intercollegiate sport," the NCAA said in the statement.
The original report from Yahoo! Sports said Ward's actions in two games were at the heart of the investigation.
Ward committed six turnovers and two of his five shots from the field were blocked Feb. 7 against Alabama. The Crimson Tide had been the betting favorite by five points and won the game by 18.
Ward left a Jan. 25 game against Arkansas early with an apparent leg injury and did not return.