NCAA Reinforces Anti-Betting Stance Ahead of Final Four
The NCAA is doubling down on efforts to prevent athletes from betting on sports.
In a press conference on Thursday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the college sports authority will not be letting athletes and coaches bet on any sports, despite the changing landscape of legal sports betting across the US.
”The membership wants a prohibition of athletes gambling in any sports, period.”
The NCAA’s Anti-Gambling Stance
Emmert is still holding out hope for federal guidelines on legal sports betting, fighting the tide that’s moving toward individual state laws as the accepted norm.
This isn’t new for the NCAA. The organization has always been against sports betting in general, and only recently had to accept that sports betting will be happening regardless. Only after two NCAA basketball games saw buzzer beaters incorrectly allowed, changing the spread win, did the NCAA accept the changes.
But they’re not happy about it. At the beginning of the NCAA tournament, the NCAA put up notices at arenas stating their opposition to sports betting.
Pfffffffft. pic.twitter.com/qAaujZMH8U— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) March 21, 2019
Despite that, the NCAA began floating rules back in February that would have little implications beyond the world of gambling. After the two aforementioned basketball games, the NCAA floated the idea of reviewing all last-second shots during the NCAA tournament, even if the shot wouldn’t affect the outcome.
Holes in Emmert’s Arguments
One of the biggest things that Emmert is concerned with is having services in place to make sure that no questionable action is taking place on any lines.
“Another thing that we’re moving forward on aggressively is we need to have integrity services in place where we can effectively monitor what’s going on in all the various sports books so that, when we see inexplicable behavior on a betting line, we know what’s going on there, and we can act accordingly.”
It’s here that Emmert shows his illiteracy on sports betting. Services like Sportradar already are in operation to watch for suspicious activity in legal sportsbooks across the US and internationally.
It’s also interesting that the NCAA should suggest rules that are openly preventing poor calls causing bad betting beats on basketball games if they remain opposed to gambling. It’s not like the NCAA isn’t aware that March Madness is the biggest betting event of the year in the US.
Additionally, banning athletes and coaches from all betting is a strange move. It’s understandable to keep athletes and coaches from betting on college athletics for obvious reasons, but all sports is being rather unreasonable.
From the outside, it seems like just another way the NCAA prevents athletes from seeing any amount of the massive amount of money that’s moved around because of college athletics. The NCAA will make millions on March Madness from TV deals alone, and athletes won’t see a penny of it.
The rules are significantly more far-reaching than simply sports betting too. Coaches and athletes are the main targets, but anyone working for a college athletic department also falls under the rule. Not only can they not participate in outright sports betting, but office pools for fantasy football or brackets are also covered.
Should the NCAA change rules to allow betting on professional sporting events, it’s likely that Emmert’s comments would be met with a more positive reaction. But as things stand, it’s simply one more unreasonable rule for student athletes to adhere to.
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