The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is suggesting US states “update” their gambling regulations to protect young athletes and uphold integrity in college competitions.
In an NCAA press statement, President Charlie Baker pointed out that while some states are adjusting their gambling laws to keep pace with the changing gambling landscape, there is a need for more states to follow suit:
“The NCAA is making changes to help student-athletes make smart choices when it comes to sports betting, but given the explosive growth of this new industry, we are eager to partner with lawmakers, regulators, and industry leaders to protect student-athletes from harassment and threats.
Some states have great policies on the books to protect student-athletes from harassment and coercion and to protect the integrity of the games, but as more states pass or amend laws, more needs to be done.”
What the NCAA demands
To establish a secure and supportive environment for student-athletes, the NCAA has presented a set of requests to achieve its objectives:
It is open to collaborating with legislators to address its concerns. This would allow the NCAA to contribute its recommendations to pending legislation.
The NCAA commits itself to preventing student-athletes from experiencing harassment and coercive behavior. It is advocating for a mandatory hotline similar to the one launched by US Integrity and RealResponse, where incidents can be reported to law enforcement agencies.
Sports betting advertisements in every state should include their harassment hotline number and information on problem gambling and restrictions.
The NCAA is urging US states to implement measures to identify and restrict prohibited bettors and those under the age of 21 from participating in betting to preserve the integrity of college competitions.
It wants penalties for individuals who engage in harassment and coercive behavior toward student-athletes.
The NCAA is proposing mandatory education programs for all operators to equip them with the skills to recognize harassment and intervene effectively.
Summing up its demands, the student-athlete body hopes for a quota of revenue from sports betting to go toward education to support the “high-risk college student population.”
NCAA takes proactive steps through conference initiative
Before its call to US states, the NCAA convened a series of conferences to address various strategies for safeguarding college athletes against the influence of sports betting.
In August, the Big 12 Conference took a significant step by forging a partnership with US Integrity. This collaboration was designed to monitor betting activities closely. And establish a mechanism for alerting authorities in case of any detected illegal betting behavior.
Around the same time, the Big Ten Conference joined forces with US Integrity to introduce an innovative initiative. The debut of a GameDay Student-Athlete Availability Report for the 2023 football tournament season.
Tony Petitti, the Commissioner of the Big Ten, explained that this measure aimed to ensure the ‘well-being’ of coaches and staff members and preserve the ‘integrity’ of their competitive events.
NCAA’s push for more gaming regulation comes at a crucial time
In May, the NCAA unveiled a survey showing that many young individuals have been participating in sports betting. There were instances where athletic department administrators violated sports betting laws.
One prominent case that gained widespread attention involved former Alabama head baseball coach Brad Bohannon, who faced dismissal due to his connection with sports betting. This incident has sparked a robust debate surrounding the NCAA’s strict no-betting policy for coaches and staff members.
Some argue that it serves as a necessary and stringent rule designed to reduce gambling activities among students and provide them with protection. On the other hand, a few contend that it lacks substance and is unlikely to deter staff members from betting or make any meaningful impact on preventing students from engaging in such activities.
All these factors collectively contribute to the NCAA’s call for updated gambling laws. Morgyn Wynne, Vice Chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said: “We are in a time where student-athlete health and well-being is the main priority.
With the legalization of sports betting, it is imperative that we take a proactive approach to protecting student-athletes from the potential of negative engagement with bettors. Thirty-eight states have clearly passed 38 different laws, but one thing that needs to be consistent across all is prioritizing the student-athlete experience and preventing harmful activity that jeopardizes the integrity of sports.”