NCAA Launches Study On Sports Betting And College Athletics
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is launching a study about sports betting in the US. In a statement, the NCAA said the study will focus on “how best to protect game integrity, monitor betting activity, manage sports data and expand educational efforts.”
Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer:
“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains. With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”
Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances:
“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering. With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”
From the NCAA’s statement, the study will look “all areas where legalized sports wagering may impact NCAA members, including officiating, NCAA rules, federal or state legislation, and the use of integrity services.” Also in their statement, the NCAA did recognize that some advocators of sports betting have said how leagues and schools could benefit financially.
They follow it up by saying “The NCAA instead has decided to focus its attention on the substance of education, the protection of student-athletes and a standard approach to game integrity through consistent national guidelines.”
While sports gambling advocates might appreciate the NCAA looking into sports betting, they’ll likely be less pleased to hear the study will be conducted by a panel composed of “subject matter experts from across the national office.” Given the known stance of the NCAA on sports betting (more below), advocates may argue that the results of the study won’t be as fair to sports betting than if the NCAA used an external source to conduct their study.
NCAA’s Current Stance On Sports Betting
The NCAA has not outwardly said if they are in favor or opposition to sports betting, but their actions suggest the NCAA is against legalized sports betting. Before the lifting of the federal ban, various NCAA athletic directors said they were not in favor of the Supreme Court overturning PASPA.
The NCAA seems to be conceding small concessions to the new landscape of sports betting across the US. They have already suspended their policy of not holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that previously only affected Nevada. However, they will continue their policy of banning gambling sponsorships and advertising during their various championships and bowl games.
The NCAA continues to prohibit any and all betting on college or professional sports by NCAA athletes and employees of athletic departments that are members of the NCAA. They have also remained firm in their position that they would prefer federal oversight of sports betting, vs state-by-state regulation.
NCAA President Mark Emmert in May, following the federal repeal of PASPA:
“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being. Sports wagering can adversely impact student-athletes and undermine the games they play. We are committed to ensuring that laws and regulations promote a safe and fair environment for the nearly half a million students who play college athletics. While we recognize the critical role of state governments, strong federal standards are necessary to safeguard the integrity of college sports and the athletes who play these games at all levels.”
In their statement announcing the study, the NCAA said they weren’t focused on so-called “integrity fees” that would be paid by sports betting operators to schools, leagues, the NCAA, or a combination of the three. NCAA schools West Virginia and Marshall have publicly argued in favor as sports betting should be live in West Virginia as college football season kicks off.
UConn, Rutgers, and Missouri have also met with officials about receiving an integrity fee regarding betting on the respective schools, but none of the five schools have seen any legislation passed yet. It’s unlikely the NCAA will remain unfocused on the subject of integrity fees, especially if legislation begins to appear in various states.
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